Milly & James’ Tasmanian New Years Eve Wedding

by | Australia - Tasmania, Bride, Inspired Weddings,


Milly & James

If there is one thing that is clear, it’s that we don’t see enough of Tasmania on Polka Dot Bride. So I always get excited to have beautiful weddings such as today’s land in my inbox- plus it’s a New Year’s eve wedding! I love the idea of new year’s celebration- a new year, a new start, and a new marriage to kick it all off with!

Milly recalls their story. “We both met when living and working in Dubai – on the beach with a group of friends. We returned to Australia a year later and have not looked back.”

Making their Polka Dot Bride debut are photographers Fred+Hannah, I love the bright, fun captures they’ve taken of today’s wedding!

St. Davids Cathedral, Hobart  was the location chosen by the couple for the ceremony. Milly says, “We chose a church ceremony as we are both quite traditional, and we wanted to get married in Tasmania as it is my home state. We selected New Years Eve as it included the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race and Taste Festival. Fortunately the Cathedral had recently finished a full restoration and was a magical venue including a fully restored organ that sounded beautiful.”

Milly wore a strapless Pronovias gown with shoes from Valentino.

For their ceremony music, Milly recalls “We chose Pachelbels Canon in D played on the Cathedral’s organ for the ceremony, and as James is a huge rugby fan, the organist also played the hymn ‘I Vow to Thee My Country’ which is used as the Rugby World Cup anthem.”

The bridesmaids wore gowns in shades of peach, tangerine and watermelon red by Carl Kapp .

Of their photographers, Milly says “My mother knew Hannah as she taught her Pilates class at Hobart University – she organised a meeting with her and partner, Fred Assenheimer who were starting their own professional photography business. We loved both of them immediately and appreciated their artistic style and beautiful use of natural light. They were great to hang out with on the day and were really easy to work with, we were very happy with the end result.”

Milly and James walked with their guests to the dock where they caught a ferry to the reception venue. A chance meeting led to the bridal party and their guests being led to the sound of bagpipes. Milly says, “The bagpiper was a busker we had met on the street months earlier and asked to turn up on the day to play ‘Amazing Grace’. When he was standing outside the Church we were both completely blown away that he had remembered!

You can’t hear them in the photos, but the Church Bells after the ceremony and the Bagpiper leading the wedding party from the Cathedral to the Boat were really atmospheric and made the occasion special.”

For their reception venue, the couple chose MONA. Milly explains “We chose the recently opened Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) for the reception after visiting earlier in the year and being blown away by the art, architecture and quality of food by their chef, Phillip Laban, who combines mostly local, seasonal produce and those from his homeland of France in a modern, fresh and simple way. We were not even aware it would be available as a venue, but they were amazingly accommodating, letting guests amble through the galleries while we had our photos done and not once referring to missing out on their own new years celebrations. They provided transport by boat to and from the venue from the heart of Hobart so our guests did not have to worry about transport, they ended up back right where they started. We also made use of 5 of the 8 stunning pavilions on site for accommodation for the wedding party which worked perfectly.”

The bouquets were all handmade. Milly recalls,  “The bridesmaids and mother of the bride prepared the bouquets on the big day, including dried rose petals in paper cones to use as confetti after the ceremony. One of the girls picked some gum leaves off a tree outside the pavilion we were staying in to complete the bouquets and finished them with grosgrain ribbon bought from Spotlight and an old brooch from the bride’s grandmother – they looked amazing.”

For the reception, Milly changed into a floor length halterneck gown made by Carl Kapp .

Milly describes the wedding as “A magical Journey through inspiring spaces.”

The macaron tower was created by Sweet Envy.

The first dance didn’t quite go as planned, Milly explains. “It was a disaster and we are both terrible dancers, we chose the song ‘All I Want is You’ by U2 played live by the band, though in retrospect I would have used a recording and practised before the big day!! We were awkward and the guests were sick of looking at us by then, in fact, I would not have danced at all!”. The couple hired The Baker Boys who kept guests dancing long after the first dance!

After dinner and just before midnight, the guests were escorted to  Constitution Dock for the conclusion of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race which had plenty of fireworks!. Milly says “We organised a Hobart water taxi to take the wedding party back from the Docks to the venue/accommodation at 2.30am – they were so gracious and generous with us they deserve a mention!”

Congratulations Milly & James! Thank you for sharing your wedding day with us! Thank you also to Fred+Hannah, for sharing their gorgeous photographs with us!

Photographer: Fred+Hannah / Bride's Dress: Pronovias / Brides Dress - Reception: Carl Kapp / Bride's Shoes: Valentino / Bride's Jewellery: Sportsgirl / Groom's Attire: Spurling Formalwear / Groomsmen Attire: Spurling Formalwear / Bridesmaid Dresses: Carl Kapp / Bridesmaid Accessories: Dinosaur Designs / Makeup Artist: Narelle Tucceri / Hairstylist: Narelle Tucceri / Invitations & Stationery: Studio One / Flowers & Decor: Bride / Ceremony Venue: St. Davids Cathedral, Hobart / Ceremony Officiant: Father Shelagh Shaw / Reception Venue: Morilla Estate / Band: The Baker Boys / Wedding Cake: Sweet Envy / Wedding Rings: Bvlgari / Wedding Registry: Wedding List Co
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Joanna and Nolan’s California Whimsy Wedding Film

by | Bride, Inspired Wedding Films, International


When Joanna told me her story of her wedding day, she made sure to mention the film. Shot by Ryan of McDuff Productions it captures the light hearted beauty of the day wonderfully.

Joanna & Nolan’s California Whimsy Wedding

by | Bride, Inspired Weddings, International,


Joanna and Nolan

I’m pretty tunnel visioned when it comes to weddings on Polka Dot Bride – they have to be Australian or have a link to Australia. But then, I know our readers span much wider than just this little (big?) continent we call our own and I know that the USA is a massive proportion of our readership, so every now and then a little USA or international gem pops into my inbox and I have to share it. Like this gorgeous, whimsical celebration from California. It’s all sunshine and happiness (and maybe unicorns) and a delight and that is after all what I love to show off!

Joanna recalls their story. “We met in my hometown of San Luis Obispo. He was a leader at my youth group while I was still in high school! We didn’t really get to know each other until a few years later. We started writing letters while we were both working at summer camps. After that summer, I studied abroad in Italy where we continued to email and send packages. After I moved back to the states, we began officially dating.”

Photos today are by Kayla Adams whose photos are full of sunshine, light and lots and lots of happy.

Joanna wore a gown and shoes from The Dresser, she paired it with a vintage birdcage veil and gold leaf hair piece from Etsy. Lori Boe Floral Design styled the floral arrangements.

Joanna and Nolan met before the ceremony. Of their photographer, Joanna says “She was amazing. Professional, yet totally calm and collected. It felt like they were guests at the wedding- they just happened to have cameras in their hands! Kayla even went above and beyond and took some photos outside of our good friends who were pregnant and wanted some maternity photos. We were thrilled with how everything came out.”

Joanna says “Our wedding had a spirit of joy, a deep eternal joy, and so much amazing dancing- our wedding was a BLAST. So fun!”

Joanna’s family played instruments during the ceremony forming a family band. Joanna says “I walked down the aisle to “Come Thou Fount” by Sufjan Stevens. My brother played the banjo. The song has such amazing lyrics, they penetrate me deeply- so to have my little brother play a song that I loved so much while walking towards my future husband was really moving. ”

Joanna and Nolan held their ceremony and reception at Cambria Pines Lodge . Joanna remembers, “Our venue was gorgeous- the entire place is littered with gorgeous flowers- creating a beautiful backdrop no matter where you were. ”

The ceremony was the most memorable moment for Joanna who recalls, “Being able to marry my husband was amazing. That was the most special part! Having our closest family and friends all in one place at one time celebrating was surreal. That will never happen again- and I feel so blessed to have experienced such a joyful time with the people that mean the most to us. Having one of my good friends and family play the music at our ceremony was amazing. My brother wrote a song specifically for our wedding and sang it as Nolan and I washed each other’s feet at the ceremony. My sister was my maid of honor and she gave a wonderful speech that left the entire venue balling at our reception. The feet washing at our ceremony was really beautiful and one of my favorite moments. It brought us into our marriage serving each other- which is what we intend to do throughout the rest of our marriage. Humble ourselves, put the other first and serve them.”

The cake was “Made by one of my bridesmaids, Kielly Lewis, who is a wonderful baker!”

Being a graphic designer, Joanna made most of the stationery herself. She explains “I’m a graphic designer- so I did the invitations, party favor tags, as well as the programs. I created a cute little logo to go on all of our items, it was two homes overlapping with a heart over it. It represented both of us creating a new home. Home was the theme of the wedding. We both had moved around so much and hadn’t lived in one place for over a year. So as we were getting married, we were finally finding a home within each other.  Our DIY’s really represented this. We had a mailbox holding the programs, books and jars as centerpieces, and homemade chocolate chip cookies as the favor. Alana from Love Me Simple was amazing at taking all of this stuff I had picked up over our engagement at thrift stores and garage sales, and putting them all together to create a homey experience for us and our guests.” Guests received homemade chocolate chip cookies made by Joanna and her bridesmaids.

The first dance was a little different. Says Joanna “Our first dance was to the song “The Call” by Regina Spektor. It was such an unusual song for a first dance. I don’t think it has the word love in it once! This song is more about life. It’s passings and comings, and the friends you keep along the way. It was another song that stirred such deep feelings within my husband and I, that we decided to have it be the first song we danced to as husband and wife. Because that’s exactly what we’re doing- walking through life together!”

The evening of dancing was one of Joanna’s favourite memories. She recalls “The dancing at our wedding was insane. We had talked to our DJ before our wedding about having to warm up the dance floor to get people up… lets just say there was NO need for that. The minute the DJ invited our guests up to dance- people swarmed! We were surrounded by these crazy dancing people everywhere! From that moment on it was non stop for hours. I’ll never forget the one moment I was dancing- stopped and looked around and saw how much fun everyone was having. It was incredible. Laughter and smiles enveloped that place. To think that these were both Nolan and I’s closest friends and family that will never be together like this again was unreal. It was a highlight of our wedding for sure. ”

Congratulations Joanna and Nolan. Thank you  for sharing your wedding day with us. Thank you also to Kayla Adams for sharing today’s happy images.

Photographer: Kayla Adams / Cinematographer: Ryan McDuff of McDuff Productions / Rentals: Alana Marie / Bride's Dress: The Dresser / Bride's Shoes: The Dresser / Bride's Veil/Hair Accessories: Etsy / Groom's Attire: JC Penny / Groomsmen Attire: JC Penny / Bridesmaid Dresses: David's Bridal / Bridesmaid Accessories: Handmade by bride / Hairstylist: Marshall Bang / Flowers & Decor: Lori Boe Floral Design / Invitations & Stationery: Designed by bride / Venue: Cambria Pines Lodge / Ceremony Officiant: Ben Youngkin / DJ: Robin Cortez

Jess and Matt’s Dreamy Lakeside Wedding

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


Jess and Matt

The dreaminess of today’s wedding really had me hooked. I loved everything about it – from the bride’s gown (that I am so thrilled to see in a real wedding!) to the succulent bouquets and the beautiful soft sorbet colours.

Jess recalls the story of she and Matt met. “We met on a visit before our best friend’s wedding in Santa Cruz USA. We were both in the bridal party. I had been visiting my friends in Santa Cruz on my trips overseas for work and on the last few they had been trying to set me up with a lovely friend of theirs, but I just wasn’t feeling it. And then I met Matt right before the wedding, Doug’s best friend. I thought he was so handsome and I was smiling inside but felt bad for their other friend who I think had really fallen for me. We didn’t get much time to talk before the wedding and both of us were aware of possibly treading on our friend’s mate that liked me. So, we just left it.

On the night of our friend’s wedding, Matt asked me to go to the after party, but I felt so guilty about the other guy who had taken me for lunch etc, I said no and went back to our friend’s place. Matt, meanwhile was driving our friends to their hotel for the night and he and Doug (my friend’s new husband) were coming up with a grand plan to rock up at their place (where I was) and just knock on the door and give me a big kiss. I was sitting at their home, so annoyed with myself for passing up the opportunity to hang out with Matt that I thought, heck…I should just call Lauren and get Matt’s number to have him come over and hang out. Well, neither of us followed through with our grand plans. Except, the next day I got up the guts to tell Lauren and Doug that I really fancied their friend. Doug called Matt straight away and told him while he was in the middle of playing golf. Matt then came straight to their place and we spent a beautiful day on the beach, talking endlessly. Matt then took me for a late lunch and we could not stop smiling at each other. I fact we were like giggly little kids and we couldn’t even muster a word.

That was my last day in Santa Cruz, I was heading back to Australia to take Lauren and Doug with me, on their honeymoon. Matt and I agreed to be in contact. Since the day I returned to the day 2 ½ years later when Matt was approved his Australian visa…there wasn’t a day that went by without endless emails, phone calls and the odd letter or two. Corny, but it was really love at first sight.”

Photos today are by Krista Martin Photography who has captured such a graceful beauty with these photographs.

There was plenty of work put into the wedding, including the bouquets styled by Jess’ cousin. Jess explains “I loved designing all the decorations by myself and with family and friends. My husband, dad and friends set up the whole day by themselves, decorations and all. Most of my family came to our house while I was getting ready which I didn’t expect but it felt so special. My cousin Krista, who captured our special day so amazingly. Also, my other cousin Suze getting up a 3am on the Wednesday before and the day of the wedding to trek to the flower markets and make up my bouquet, the girls bouquet’s and the beautiful table arrangements! So lucky with everyone that blessed us with their help!”

Jess wore a stunning gown by Anna Campbell, shoes from  Jimmy Choo and earrings from Samantha Wills.

Jess remembers, “It couldn’t have been more of a family affair if I wanted it to. We were so lucky to have the help of everyone. My friends helped with everything, and people flew in from overseas, UK, USA. We were just so blessed to have everyone’s support, we couldn’t have done it without them!”

Jess and Matt were married by Narrabeen Lake. Jess recalls “The day of the wedding, I was filled with nerves, but remained really calm. I was just nervous because I wanted to see Matt so badly. I remember telling my mum that all the nerves would go away as soon as I saw him when I walked down the aisle. And, it was true. “These Arms of Mine” (Otis Redding) came on and Matt came into view. I don’t think I could have smiled harder even if I tried. I don’t remember seeing anyone as I walked down to aisle, except for Matt. My mum who walked me down with my dad was so nervous too, that she forgot to let down my beautiful long train, holding it all the way to the altar. It makes me laugh looking back on it. But, our moment together, just staring at one another was the most special moment to have, just the two of us!”

Matt made the ceremony structure himself from dead wood he found in the forest.

Of their photographer, Jess says “No matter how organised our wedding day was, it’s a day filled with lots of happy and excited nerves. Krista is one of those people that you want to have around you all the time. She is calm, nothing worries her and that calm spreads to everyone else. Most of the photos that Krista took, I had no idea that she was even there. Those photos were such a wonderful surprise. I love everything about our photographs, it’s the way that Krista sees things in such a creative light, that makes them so beautiful. We are so grateful to have had Krista capture our special day. Forever thankful!”

Jess and Matt held their reception at a friend’s beach house. Jess says “The venue was my long time friend’s house. It was a weathered beachy house, with an amazing backyard leading right onto Narrabeen Lakes.”

Dessert was homemade cake made by Jess and family and friends, but the couple also served icecream sandwiches from Pat & Sticks Ice-Cream Sandwiches.

The marquee was lit with paper lanterns bought from The Paper Lantern Store.

For their first dance, Jess recalls, “Our first dance was to Ray LaMontagne’s “You are the best thing”. Matt and I had been taking some bridal dance lessons, much to Matt’s disappointment who felt sick just at the thought of having to dance in front of all the people at our wedding. We started off a little shaky with the lessons, but in the end had such a laugh. Our teacher was more than amazing in helping Matt with confidence and worked with his strengths. Our dance was just perfect. We mixed in some moves, forgot most of them…but just had fun with it. I was thoroughly impressed by Matt, he did such a great job!”

Congratulations Jess and Matt! Thank you for sharing your wedding day with us! Thank you also to Krista Martin Photography  for sharing today’s photographs!

Photographer: Krista Martin Photography / Hire: Events Festivals and Weddings / Bride's Dress: Anna Campbell / Bride's Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Bride's Jewellery: Samantha Wills / Groom's Attire: Tommy Hilfiger / Groomsmen Attire: Kenneth Cole (David Jones) / Bridesmaid Accessories: White Owl / Bridesmaid Accessories: StitchFromTheHeart / Hairstylist: Talia of The Whitehouse Productions / Makeup Artist: Talia of The Whitehouse Productions / Flowers & Decor: Suzanne Cooling / Invitations & Stationery: Beleza Design / Ceremony Venue: Narrabeen Lake / Reception Venue: Private beach house on Narrabeen Lake / Ceremony Officiant: Mary Anderson / Catering: Garth Dickinson from Pilgrims & Brock Day ( Chef and Brides Brother) / Guestbook: AlternativeJournals / Perosnalised Coat Hanger: BridalBlings / Paper Lanterns: Paper Lantern Store / Ice-cream Sandwiches: Pat & Sticks Ice-Cream Sandwiches