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Project Innovate- Meet Leila Khalil of Be Inspired PR

by | Blog News, Bride


I know not every wedding vendor reads Polka Dot Wisdom (really you should subscribe, we have such great posts lined up!) and can sometimes get caught in the hustle and bustle of every day life, so I am popping a little business talk on Polka Dot Bride today!

For a few months (okay six) I’ve been chatting to Sarah from Girl Friday Weddings about education for the Australian (and New Zealand) wedding industry. This month, we officially launch Project Innovate, an education initiative for Australian & New Zealand wedding professionals and in a few weeks, our first speaker Leila Khalil of Be Inspired PR will be here from California with her “Brand Your Business Workshop”.

Branding your business isn’t just your logo, it’s how you do business, it’s how you market.  This session will:

•    Help you to evaluate your brand presence in the industry with tips on how to further your reach

•    Help you to create an action plan to enhance your company’s perceived value

•    Host a critique session selecting individual businesses and providing feedback on: website/logo/business cards/blog and marketing materials giving suggestions on how to ensure the brand is well represented

•    Suggest ways to work with other key vendors with whom to form relationships in order to gain additional notoriety

•    Help you maximise the effectiveness of social media outlets i.e. twitter, blog etc. The do’s and don’ts of media and print submissions

Leila is no stranger to getting the most out of your branding- her successful wedding PR business has her clients in Martha Stewart Weddings, Grace Ormonde Weddings, Brides Magazine and even on TV- that’s not to mention the countless blogs her clients are featured on every month.

If you’d like to come along,the event is on the 28th of June at 6.30 pm at The Ivy Sunroom in Sydney. Ticket price ($135) includes a ninety minute workshop by Leila, a question & answer session with Leila, a cocktail upon arrival, a scrumptiously catered networking reception following the workshop (did I mention the chocolates? and cake?) a gift bag and a chance to be a part of Project Innovate’s first ever event.

Click here to purchase your ticket.

This event would not be possible without our fabulous sponsors who include:

Merivale The Ivy

Nerida McMurray Photography

Form Over Function

Gigi & Lulu

Faye Cahill Cake Design

The A List Guide

Aperol Spritz

Visit Ms Polka Dot's Directory

Sofia and Ander’s Swedish Winter Wedding

by | Bride, Inspired Weddings, International,


Sofia and Anders

Oh, do I have the most magical winter wedding for you this afternoon! All the way from Sweden! Not only does it have snow as a backdrop and a romantic love story – but it also involves a castle. If that isn’t a fairytale I don’t know what is! Plus I think this afternoon’s wedding is a pretty big thumbs up to any bride planning to marry in the snow – I couldn’t think of a more magical time of year!

Sofia explains how she met her husband Anders. “The bride was fed up with being single. The groom had just moved to town and wanted to meet new people. They both went online, she found him, they went on a date. It started with a long walk, ended with a bath (hot summers night) from some cliffs. They met for a second date, held hands and never let go…”

Photos today are by Swedish and Spanish photographer Emma Sandstrom, who has truly captured the magic of the day with her images. Clean, crisp images full of love emotion and all the fairytale nature of the day!

Sofia’s fondest memories are of her family. “My mother came and visited the bridal party at the hairdresser and before she came I said “I’ll bet my mother will start to cry when she sees me..” And she did!

The hairdresser that did the hair and make up was such a sweetheart! Tingsgården in Eskilstuna is the place to be! The hairdresser has  a 50’s theme in the salon with cool old stuff and very unique style!”

Sofia wore a Pronovias Troya gown with shoes from Donna Girl. The bridesmaids wore orange gowns and the floral arrangements for the day were styled by Decoflor.

Sofia and Anders decided to do a “first look” and saw each other before the ceremony.

We absolutely LOVE snow, and by getting married in Sweden during winter, there is a chance that you’ll get snow on your wedding day. The week before the wedding, all the snow had been melting! Four days before the wedding I was devastated! The day before the wedding I woke up to a HUGH snowstorm going on outside my window! The morning of the wedding, the snow was laying thick on the ground and as I was driving to the wedding, I couldn’t have been more happy!

Anders proposed to me on a skiing trip, so it’s understandable that we wanted our snow!

Sofia says “That the snow decided to come back, the last week before the wedding. We designed the whole wedding around snow and snowflakes, so it was lucky for us that we got real snow to go with the wedding!”

The wedding was held at Sundbyholms Castle.  Sofia says “The venue is a beautiful castle, located in Eskilstuna (1.5 hours from Stockholm.) Both the wedding and the reception were held at the Castle, and all our guests stayed at a hotel owned by the castle, so they could stay and party all night long! We also had a brunch the day after the wedding!”

The ceremony was held in the cellar of the castle which was filled with lots of candles and lanterns. The couple’s music choices for the ceremony were beautiful. Sofia says “We chose to walk in to “Annie’s Song”, a special edition of ‘Hallelujah’ with Swedish lyrics, a well known Swedish love song called ‘Kärleken förde oss samman’ (love made us come together) – performed by bridesmaid,  and ‘Everything’ (Michael buble) performed by friends of the bride and groom.”

The guests were able to take in the beauty of Mother Nature after the ceremony. Sofia recalls “After the ceremony, all the guests went outside where they fired a salute for us with a canon.”

The couple hired a magician during cocktail hour who entertained guests.

DIY played a part in the day. Sofia explains “We did almost everything ourselves. It was important for us that the decorations turned out the way we wanted so why not do them ourselves! We did the program to the ceremony, the invitation and the menu for the dinner. On all the paperwork, I made 187 snowflakes, hand painted with orange glitter! The bridesmaids helped us with decorating the tables.”

Sofia recalls “To start the dinner with something fun, the bridal party had prepared a movie, where they were dancing and singing to “Don’t Stop me Now” by Queen! That was a great way of starting the dinner and everybody had a great time, both recording the video and watching it on the day of the wedding!”

The reception was filled with much joy. “In Sweden there is a tradition that says that if the bride or groom leaves the table (to go to the bathroom or else) during the dinner, all the girls (if the bride leaves the table) or the boys (if the groom leaves) get to run up and kiss the one that has been left at the table.”

The couple rounded off their fairytale day with their first dance. Sofia says “We danced to Swedish song Like a Fairytale” a slow waltz, perfect for a bride with two left feet…”

For the cake, the newlyweds cut “The venues special wedding cake. Passion fruit, lemon mousse covered with white chocolate.” recalls Sofia.

Congratulations Sofia and Anders! Thank you for allowing us to share your wedding day on Polka Dot Bride! Thank you also to Emma Sandstrom for sharing today’s imagery!

Photos by Emma Sandstorm


Jennifer and Isaac’s Elegant Washington Wedding

by | Bride, Inspired Weddings, International,


Jennifer and Isaac

I thought today might be a good day to take an around the world trip- so I have two very beautiful, very different and very awesome weddings coming right up – one gorgeous Spring affair in Washington and join us again this afternoon to spy a magic winter fairytale wedding!

Jennifer and Isaac shared their story of their relationship on their wedding website. “After a couple weeks of innocent eye catches, gentle smiles, timely flexing, and attention grabbing dumbbell dropping at their mutual gym, it is official: she can no longer resist his charm. Jenn soon casually announces to her mom and sister that there is a cute guy at the gym and “I think I’m going to let him talk to me”. Shortly thereafter Jenn makes it convenient to have a little chat where Isaac, while pumping some serious iron of course, asks the infamous phrase: “Do you like coffee?” Jenn adamantly explains her love of the liquid, stating her college experience in Seattle as proof positive, and before either of them leave the gym that night coffee progress to dessert which progresses to dinner. The next night Isaac picks Jenn up at her parent’s house for dinner, takes her to the only open restaurant in Moses Lake, Sherri’s, where a fun time is had by all. After dinner he brings her back to her parent’s house, walks her to the door, where standing on the front porch he asks if he may kiss her. She gladly accepts. They have been inseparable since. And the rest is history…

Summer’s not yet arrived in NYC, and Manhattan has received 1/5 of her summer quota of rain in the last 25 days; it is being called one for the record books and June is not yet halfway over. Isaac and Jenn have been waiting for the sun to shine for months, having arrived in the dead of winter and wondering what this City would look like in full bloom. The sun was shinning, the dogwoods were blooming, the maples dawned their foliage, and every Porto Rican in New York was gearing up for their annual Porto Rican Day Parade. (The parade was a coincidence, mind you.)

Isaac and Jenn boarded the subway from their L.E.S Delancy/Essex station, flip flops on, sunglasses out, video camera in tow, and headed on the F train north for The Park. Most of the ride Isaac complained about riding the subway, as always, because as we all know Isaac was not carved out of the same block of stone that the mass transit sort were.

Emerging from the dark musty tunnel, to the smell of street vendors and the sounds of accordions and trumpets, they crossed Park Ave heading West toward the Park. Wading through a sea of Porto Rican flags, they arrived at The Park with no agenda whatsoever but to explore the beauty of what Isaac refers to as the Eighth wonder of the world: Central Park. Heading west across The Park on a beautiful day, they enjoy the flowers blooming, a lawn bowling tournament, and sounds of a half of a million people enjoying a spring day.

After apparently happening across the Tavern on The Green, which “coincidentally” was on Jenn’s “bucket list”, Jenn and Isaac stopped for the Tavern’s signature Cosmo and a Brooklyn lager, receptively. Two cosmos and three Brooklyn Lagers later, they gleefully left the Tavern on The Green. The plan? Wander around the Park. 
Or so she thought.

They “happened” across the Mall, and made their way north. The Mall ends in a Terrace, Bethesda Terrace to be exact. Coming out of the ornate tunnel they arrived at a scene from the movies (literally): a beautiful open Terrace, in the center the historic Bethesda Fountain adorned with the Angel of Waters. Behind her a Central Park pond filled with canoes and people playfully paddling about on a beautiful late Spring day. Camera rolling, they stop in the middle of the plaza at the foot of the Angle of Waters herself, noting what a lovely and “perfect” spot this is. A few moments of joyful conversation pass between them until Isaac asks Jenn “Is this spot perfect enough to remember forever?” 
She laughs and says “Of course!” 
To her complete surprise Isaac cuts the camera, reaches into his pocket, and purposefully drops to one knee… Holding with both hands the most perfect piece of jewelry she’s every seen, no box in site,  he asks  “Jennifer, will you be my wife?  You know the rest…. ”

Photos this morning are by Kristen Honeycutt who has captured today’s wedding so beautifully. From moody intense portraits to fun candids and everything in between and oh how she’s captured the beautiful colour of the day!


Jennifer wore a gown from the Pronovias Flagship store, Manhattan, NY with green wedding shoes from Nordstrom. Her jewellery was from Tiffany & Co.

Jennifer designed the stationery herself and had it printed by I Heart Rock Paper Scissors. A Paloma’s Nest ring bowl was used for the wedding rings.

Jennifer’s bridesmaids wore soft green gowns from The Dessy Group and floral arrangements were styled by Lindeman Weddings and Events.


The ceremony was held at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, Roslyn, WA. Jennifer says “We were set on getting married in the Catholic Church and the nearest Catholic church was this gorgeous simple old chapel in the next town over… so we set everything up from afar. My mom visited the locations and took pictures for us before we could go there and see it ourselves. We were married in a Church that neither of us had been to before, but the priest was my spiritual advisor from college (from 7+ years earlier).”


Asked to describe her wedding in a sentence, Jennifer says “An amazing and beautiful combination of nature, elegance,  spirituality, and celebration, which made for a completely magical day.”


Of marrying in Washington at the Inn at Suncadia Resort, Jennifer says “At the time that we got engaged and married, we were living in Manhattan, NY, we are both from Eastern Washington State and we wanted something that highlighted he gorgeousness of our the nature of the state where we both are from, but that was elegant and a top notch resort so our guests could feel pampered.

We decided to have our cocktail hour and dancing in the Inn (18 rooms with a gorgeous bar and reception area) since it was a little more quaint then having it at the main Hotel which was gorgeous but not as intimate. We had a gorgeous white tent set up for the sit-down dinner, the toasts, and the cake cutting with table service for the drinks, which was held between the cocktail hour and the dancing”

There were so many sweet details Jennifer and Isaac worked hard to perosnalise and create – including jars of honey for guests at the reception. Jennifer recalls “Although I didn’t do the printing, I designed all the stationary and paper products to be coordinating throughout, from invitations, to favor cards. I made the little birds cake toppers from clay and painted them. I bought the jars of clover honey from our local honeymaker, but then put the favors together with what you see, including the honey dipper.

I made the fish cards for the table names from some of my husband’s favorite fish and sat people according to each fish (IF) he had a special connection with someone with a particular fish, and I made the place cards coordinating with the table name cards. The Modern Quaker Marriage Certificate (HelloGorgeousBride on etsy) that is in place of our guest book.

My sister-in-law made my garter from my mother-in-law’s wedding dress; she had married my father-in-law in 32 years earlier (my mother-in-law passed away two years before we got married). I made the hangers for the “dress pictures” with each of my bridesmaid first initial on them, and “B” for “Bride”.  The pocket squares for my husband, my father, and my father-in-law were made out of my wedding dress (from the pieces left over after alteration). My mother and grandmother hand made my entire veil, start to finish, including the hand beaded the lace around the entire veil. .”


The first dance was beautiful, Jennifer recalls. “We danced to a song called “Like water” by Paul Kamm and Eleanore Macdonald. We had picked this song out as our first dance song years before…”


Congratulations Jennifer and Isaac! Thank you for allowing us to share your wedding day on Polka Dot Bride! Thank you also to Kristen Honeycutt for sharing today’s images with us!

Photos by Kristen Honeycutt submitted via Two Bright Lights.


Michelle and Jonathan’s Stylish Sydney Wedding

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


One thing that makes me proud to be Australian is the different cultures that we get to experience- a giant melting pot if you will. Today’s wedding is a beautiful mix of Arabic and English traditions right in the heart of one of Australia’s most iconic cities- Sydney.

The newlyweds met while Michelle was working in London.

Photographs today are by Inlighten Photography– classic, beautiful imagery that looks like it could be a fashion shoot. it’s a love story though and one of the richest kinds!

The bride wore a Manuel Mota giown from Provonias London while the bridesmaids wore stunning pale pink and black lace gowns made by a friend.

Michelle wore Alan Pinkus peep toes and Jonathan and his groomsmen wore Spurling suits.

Michelle and Jonathan were married atSt Michael’s Cathedral. Michelle recalls “The church ceremony was just so special – Father Ibrahim of St Michael’s Cathedral delivered a very moving ceremony.” Michelle walked down the aisle to R.Wagner – Bridal March from Lohengri.

Michelle and Jonathan held their reception in the Opera Point Marquee. Michelle says “The Opera Point Marquee was great for the reception especially as we had many guests come out from the UK and Singapore – it was a wonderful location. Food was amazing and the service was perfect.”

The floral arrangements were styled by Designs by Boo Shi “Kristy did an amazing job with the flowers – absolutely brilliant!” remarks Michelle.

Celebration Cakes created a three tier wedding cake with black lace detailing.

For their first dance, the newlyweds hit the dance floor to Michael Buble – ‘The Way You Look Tonight’.

Michelle and Jonathan hired EON Beats from Funkified Entertainment for their reception and finished off with a DJ from Chaar Entertainment.

Congratulations on your marriage Michelle and Jonathan! Thank you for sharing your wedding day with us on Polka Dot Bride! Thank you also to Inlighten Photography for sharing today’s images!

Photos by Inlighten Photography

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