Back to Top
PolkaDotBride - Australia's number 1 Bridal Blog, Wedding Directory and Advice for Brides
Log In Register

Irene and Ray Engaged

by | Bride, Engagements


To celebrate the launch of the spring issue Eco Beautiful Weddings and my collaboration with Tea Lily Photography, Trish offered up two gorgeous shoots to share with you! The first is this romantic, engagement shoot of Ray & Irene in Sydney. I love the soft dreamy captures and the row boats- such a sense of nostalgia!












Photos by Tea Lily Photography

Sign Up To The Polka Dot Circle

My One & Only Winners

by | Bride, Competitions


Thank you for your entries to win tickets to My One & Only!

Our winners are Phuong, Michelle, Eliza, Phoebe & Lisa!

Congratulations! I will be in touch with more details shortly!

You can still enter our Little Flamingo Stationery competition to win a set of Save The Date Calenders!

Annika and Tom – The Celebration

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


I love the feel of today’s wedding, it’s relaxed and intimate with a beautiful sense of style!

Annika and Tom started their ceremony at 5pm as the sunset over the beautiful Swan River.

Annika-Tom-Perth-Wedding13 Annika-Tom-Perth-Wedding61

Annika and Tom created some fun touches for their guests. “We DIY-ed our reception booklets and printed word jumbles, fill in the blanks and quizzes about Tom and I on the other side so guests had something to do and a talking point before the ceremony. I loved that the next day, we were able to go through and see all of our friends humour, creativity, sincerity and intelligence in their various responses.

We loved our stationery and its probably worth a sing-out for budget conscious brides. When we started planning, I was amazed at the cost of wedding stationary but wasn’t sure if we would have the time or skill to make our own. We used Vista Print which was incredibly cheap and, I feared before the day, could be nasty. When the invites arrived, I was over the moon because they were so much nicer than I thought they would be. I particularly loved our RSVPs which offered our guests the option of ‘excitedly accepting’, ‘regretfully declining’, ‘disappointedly accepting’, ‘happily declining’ or ‘failing to respond but ultimately attending’!”

Annika-Tom-Perth-Wedding40 Annika-Tom-Perth-Wedding68

Annika’s mother planted pots of blue salvia which lined the aisle, they also used the pots at the reception.


Annika says “We walked down the aisle to Newton Faulkner, If This Is It. It was one of the easiest decisions we made in the wedding planning.

A few months before the wedding, I had actually compiled a long list of potential songs for the aisle walk and was putting a playlist together to test out on Tom. Then I heard Newton Faulkner play this song live on the radio one afternoon, rushed home to download it from iTunes. I played it to Tom and he loved it too.

We asked our wonderful acoustic guitarist, Prita Greely, to learn the song for the day and as she sang, I started walking towards Tom to the words: “If I had one chance to freeze time, to stand still and soak in everything, I’d choose right now.” It is wonderful to have a song symbolise that moment as we can revisit that day every time we hear it. On the weekend just passed, we attended our best friends’ wedding and the last song they played at the reception was If This Is It- it made us remember our own vows all over again.”


Friends and family were very involved in the wedding day according to Annika. “We used the ceremony as an opportunity to involve those people who meant a lot to us. We had one friend give a reading immediately after I had walked down the aisle and before the celebrant spoke. It was called ‘Union’ and it meant so much to us to set the tone of the ceremony and to open the ceremony with a loved one’s voice. It is a reading about how a marriage is not made by a wedding ceremony but in the unspoken promises you make to each other in the years leading to that day. It really struck a chord with Tom and I and was the theme of our entire ceremony.

We also had a friend who is a writer, compose and deliver a short and original reading about the nature of love and finding the right time to grasp your happiness. Finally, we asked a friend to finish up the ceremony with a humorous song. We had never heard him sing on his own and he was so nervous that his hands were shaking but he was completely brilliant. He sang, “Nothing Can Stop Us Now” by Tim Minchin (his cousin) which is a touching song that finishes with the line “and nothing can stop us now… except terminal illness and sudden accidental death.’”

Annika-Tom-Perth-Wedding48 Annika-Tom-Perth-Wedding69

Annika and Tom married in the grounds of the University of Western Australia at Prescott Court. Annika says, We wanted to spend as much time as possible with our guests and not have any break between the ceremony and the reception. It meant that we needed the locations to be really close to each other to allow our guests to walk between the two.

We chose our ceremony venue by simply walking around the reception area until we found a secluded park at the University of Western Australia. It had beautiful tall gums that created a kind of structure around us and filtered the setting sunlight so guests wouldn’t get too hot.

We hired furniture to fit it out and our neighbours volunteered to come down and set up the entire ceremony and then pack it away. Another amazing friend volunteered to make sure the ceremony looked exactly like we planned and then manned the bar next to the ceremony so that as we walked back down the aisle, we could join all our guests for champagne to celebrate.”

Annika-Tom-Perth-Wedding21 Annika-Tom-Perth-Wedding28

Annika says “We wrote our own wedding ceremony as we wanted it to reflect who we were. We tried to make it funny, genuine and heartfelt. I love that there are so many photos during the ceremony showing people laughing and enjoying themselves. My mother particularly loves some of the photos of us immediately after we were pronounced as man and wife as we looked so happy to be married. We had seen so many ceremonies that are formal and reserved- that isn’t who we are so we were pleased that the ceremony reflected us.”


The reception was across the road from the ceremony at Matilda Bay Restaurant. Annika says “Matilda Bay was perfect for our reception. Whilst it had a large function room upstairs, we saw it had a much smaller room downstairs that didn’t have that formal, function room feel and it was surrounded by glass on two sides and had gorgeous views of the river and the Perth skyline. The room opened up onto an area outside which was extremely important as we are outdoorsy people.

We wanted a cocktail type reception so that everyone had a chance to speak to as many people as possible and not be tied down by schedules or seating plans. That meant we had to outfit the outside space which was like a blank canvas. To make it feel comfortable and stylish (seats are very important for cocktail type parties), Tom and I got artistic and resourceful. We hired low line couches, cushions, stools and coffee tables so that everyone could sit outside. We then set out ottomans on the foreshore where guests were visited by a pod of dolphins at dusk. We also lit the entire area with paper lanterns and candles so that as the sun set, the reception took on a beautiful ambient feel.” Annika and Tom hired their furniture from Villa Kula.


Annika-Tom-Perth-Wedding64 Annika-Tom-Perth-Wedding57

Annika-Tom-Perth-Wedding51 Annika-Tom-Perth-Wedding29

Annika and Tom chose to decorate their reception with lots of greenery. ” Outside of our reception venue we had lots of coffee tables and each had a succulent centrepiece. My mother and I bought square white ceramic planters from Bunnings ($4.99 each) and then a few months before the wedding, we snipped bits of succulents from friends, family and neighbours and planted them.  In the end, we had beautiful centrepieces that weren’t fussy, but were organic and natural. We can also recycle them after the wedding.  My mother, who has a green thumb, also planted blue salvia in pots that lined the aisle and were also outside at the reception venue.”




Annika and Tom provided things (flip-flops) for their guests “In keeping with the relaxed feel of the day (and to help me get my broken foot out of some impressive heels), we organised a basket of white thongs at the ceremony with little notes inviting our guests to ‘rest their tootsies’ or to ‘put on their dancing shoes’. I could not believe how popular they were! When I walked into the reception, I saw my bridesmaids had already kicked off their heels and I quickly followed. The basket was empty within the first half hour and our guests were mingling in cocktail dresses and thongs”

Annika-Tom-Perth-Wedding72 Annika-Tom-Perth-Wedding22

Of their first dance, Annika says “Tom and I chose not to have a first dance as we rarely dance and I had a broken foot leading up to the wedding. Whilst vanity meant the cast came off about a week earlier, the break still evident on x-ray and dancing was a no-no.  However, right before we left our reception, we asked all our family and guests to join us to dance ‘Zorba the Greek’ as a nod to my Greek background. I started the circle holding a vintage handkerchief that one of Tom’s friends had made and gifted to us before the wedding as our ‘something old.’ Almost everyone at the reception joined us to spin around. It was great that our last image of the reception was to see everyone’s smiling and breathless faces as they danced around us…. and I didn’t feel my broken foot at all!”

But the celebration didn’t stop there “Finally, we organised an ‘afters party’ at Tom’s parents’ home, right around the corner. We had been to many weddings where some of the guests were falling asleep by the end of the night- our motto was to party hard and then party at home! So we organised to leave the reception at 10:30, and allow some of the older guests to head home. Then almost everyone else headed back to the afters party where we ordered gourmet pizzas, had eskies full of drinks, cranked up the music and basically partied until the wee hours of the morning.”

Thank you for sharing your beautiful wedding day and thoughts behind your choices Annika and Tom! Congratulations on your marriage! Thank you also to Angela Higgins for sharing the photographs with us today!

Photos by Angela Higgins.

Annika and Tom

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



Annika and Tom

Today’s wedding has a beautiful sense of peace about it. I love how Annika and Tom made their celebration their own, using touches that really meant something to them.

Photos today are by Angela Higgins.

Annika tells the story of how she and Tom met.  “We officially met on the first day of university (about 500 metres) from where we eventually wed 13 years later. We’d been together ever since.” Annika says, “After Tom and I got engaged, we sat down and went through every wedding we’d attended and listed our favourite part of each wedding and our less than favourite part. It was definitely an advantage getting married a little later as we had the benefit of other peoples’ experiences.

Tom and I had been together for 13 years and have lived together for a while so the idea of a stressful and formal wedding marking the start of our future didn’t appeal to us. I didn’t want to be running around on the day concerned about a million details that, six months down the track, would have meant nothing to us. We viewed the wedding as a celebration of our love and a continuation of the commitment we have made to each other over the many years we’ve been together. For that reason, we loved that the wedding never felt too formal and was about our community and not just Tom and I. We bypassed so many traditions (and the associated stresses) like formal ceremonies, churches, table settings, colour schemes, wedding cake, first dances, bonbonniere and the bouquet toss but focused on the things that were important- spending as much time with our family and friends as possible and letting each other know that we were excited about the future but that we had also loved getting to where we were. One of our friends summed up our wedding the next day when he told us that our wedding was different to anything he’d been to before and that the day ‘felt like the two of you.’

We scheduled our wedding directly after Christmas so that a lot of our friends who live overseas and interstate had the opportunity to make it back to Perth for Christmas with their families and then our wedding. It made for a wonderful atmosphere as everyone was already in a relaxed holiday mood.”


The wedding day flowers were styled by Flowers By Michelle. Annika says “Tom and I didn’t want to break up our wedding day by leaving for photos between the ceremony and reception so we organised for a ‘first look’ before the ceremony. It turned out better than we expected as we had that first moment together, completed our portraits beforehand, got to spend as much time as we wanted with our family and friends after the ceremony (and not running around trying to get photos) and didn’t lose the momentum between the ceremony and the reception. It also stopped any nerves getting in the way as we were by each other’s side most of the day. That felt much more true to ourselves as we already share a life together so to be separate for this important day seemed unnecessary. In fact, we woke up in the morning, had breakfast together, split up for a few hours to get ready and then came together again for the photos. It meant that I got to share almost all of my wedding day with my husband.”


Annika-Tom-Perth-Wedding10 Annika-Tom-Perth-Wedding11

Annika wore a (now discontinued) gown from  Brides By Design.  The bridesmaids wore gowns by Veronika Maine. Tom & his groomsmen ordered their suits online from Hong Kong.



Annika says “Angela (our photographer) was fabulous. She was like one of our guests. She was entirely unobtrusive and simply walked around capturing different little scenes from throughout the day featuring our family and friends. Angela was entirely laid back and on board with whatever we suggested which was great. For example, Tom collects (and drinks) wine so we organised to have photos in a local bar and cellar amongst racks of bottles of French wines. These have turned out to be some of his favourite photos as they are so intimate. At our engagement shoot, we asked for photos inside Tom’s vintage (aka falling apart) Alfa Romeo and they look awesome.”



Annika-Tom-Perth-Wedding31 Annika-Tom-Perth-Wedding25




Annika and Tom made the time before their ceremony a celebration “We scheduled our location shots to finish up at a local bar about an hour before the ceremony. I really loved this as we got to have a calming drink, got some great photos in the bar and received wonderful advice from some of the patrons. We also asked our parents to meet us there to toast the start of the day. It was such a special way to make sure we had quality time with our close family as the wedding day can pass by so quickly.”

Check back this afternoon- Annika and Tom held their ceremony and reception in such gorgeous venues, you’ll love what they did!

Photos by Angela Higgins.

Back to Top