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Choice Wedding Report Roundtable

by | Bride, Finance


Last year, Choice Magazine (an independent Consumer based publication in Australia) did a survey on whether vendors really charge more for weddings than other events. We touched on this issue when I interviewed vendors, and wrote about it in February “W Is For Weddings- Behind The Wedding Word Part One & Part Two“. It’s an issue I’ve been incredibly interested in and one I want to keep discussing.



Flowers and cake from Sweet Art, Henry Roth and the Henri Josef website.

With the report providing such hot debate in the industry and amongst brides, Choice decided to take it a step further and hold a ‘Round Table’ discussion at Sydney’s TOKO Restaurant with some of Sydney’s leading wedding professionals to discuss the issue.

Moderating the discussion was Henry Roth. With Anthea Leonard from Sweet Art, Lynleigh McPherson from Belinda Franks Catering, Lorraine Elliot from Not Quite Nigella, Phoebe Gazal from Papier d’Amour, David Mendes from KAREN Magazine, Alicia Richardson from The Knot, Claire Aristedis from Lifegloss, Matt Lee from Infinity Photography, and  Matthew Duchesne from Milk & Honey Photography attending.

Also in attendance was  CHOICE reporter Kate Browne, as well as Fiona Wood, Sian Jenkins, Leigh Golombick and Sean O’Byrne from Mark Communications.



As we touched on with our own discussions in February, trusting your vendor and using vendors you are comfortable with is incredibly important to avoid the ‘wedding price tag’ discomfort.

The ‘Round Table’ agreed that full disclosure by the customer is essential. All suppliers agreed that by talking clients through the added value they’re providing for dealing with a wedding, they would avoid a sticky situation later on – so ask your vendors to explain why they charge what they charge.

Vendors felt that a lot of what they do for weddings is left unsaid (and unseen!) and therefore there are often misunderstandings, leading to a bride feeling she is being “ripped off”. The extra time spent catering to the attention to detail demanded by brides may have been factored in as the ‘standard’ service provided by the vendor for weddings.

The group agreed that customers should come with a budget in mind and tell the vendor upfront. This means the vendor can tailor a package to your budget. The group agreed that vendors and consumers both need to manage their expectations, be clear and upfront and be flexible with each other.

While a ‘regulatory body’ idea was discussed and thought of as a good idea, the vendors failed to see a fair way of implementing it.



The round table in action, sweet treats from Belinda Franks Catering.

The group agreed on a number of points to ensure you, the bride and groom, are comfortable with your vendors and their charges, and that you don’t feel stung by the ‘wedding’ word.

– Research vendors (utilising bridal forums, websites, social media and through word of mouth)
– Come to the vendor meeting with a budget outline
– Ask as many questions as possible of the vendor to ensure you are 100% comfortable with the level of service and the explanation behind the charges
– Be very clear with the vendor about your expectations of the level of service you require
– Be upfront that the event is a wedding so both you and your supplier start the relationship honestly and you both have the same expectation of the event.
– If you’re unsure of set packages, ask about flexibility within these packages
– Set up an initial one on one meeting with the vendor to make sure you get along with them. If you have any doubts, try and resolve them in a frank discussion, or search for another supplier. After all your relationship could span many, many months!

I delayed writing about the round table as I was waiting for an audio recording of the event, unfortunately the audio didn’t turn out, but the Choice team did produce a video which gives a little insight into the discussions that took place!


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Tuesday News Wrapup

by | Blog News, Bride


Last week flew by and I didn’t get a chance to do my usual weekly news wrap up! So what better day than Tuesday?


A very resourceful and tireless reader has found a supplier of embroidered polka dot organza. She’d love to buy this for her wedding gown but the minimum order is 50 metres and she only needs ten!

Anna is looking for others who make be after the embroidered polka dot organza. It’s got scattered dots which are approximately 7mm big. The fabric is 150cm wide and is ivory (but looks white when you put it over white lining).

If you’re interested in purchasing the organza with Anna, please use the contact form and we will put you in touch with her!


Johanna Johnson

Melbourne brides! Johanna Johnson is looking to visit Melbourne for a trunk show in June! If you’re interested  in viewing the gorgeous gowns in the flesh and meeting the team, they’d love to know! They’re taking expressions of interest through their website here.


Henry Roth is holding a sample sale at their Sydney showroom this Thursday with gowns starting from $250. Definitely worth a look if you’re needing gowns for yourself or your bridesmaids (more info here). Our events calender has lots of great events for the next few months and we’re continually updating it- so keep checking!



A big thrill last week was to spot Polka Dot Bride in the new Shop Til You Drop magazine! We’re honoured to be listed as one of Shop’s “6 of The Best Parsimonious Bridal Blogs” along with 100 Layer Cake, Once Wed, I-Do-It-Yourself, Something Old, Something New and Aussie Bridal Survival! Shop has a fantastic wedding mini mag this issue (I particularly love the “Garden state” and “Bollywood” feature and the many, many gorgeous gowns!)



Our winner of the Green and Bloom Flowers giveaway is Mel with her response “I have 5 special men who have impacted on my life (3 brothers, Stepdad and Pop), so I wanted to include them all in giving me away. They will be staggered down the pathway leading up to our garden wedding “aisle”, each with a few flowers in hand. As I walk with each of them, they will hand me their flowers so that by the time I get to my “husband-to-be”, I have a large bunch of flowers. Then my husband will tie a ribbon around my bouquet before the ceremony begins!” Congratulations Mel! I will be in touch soon!

We have a mass of fantastic competitions coming up for you shortly, so stay tuned!

Vanessa and Chris – The Celebration

by | Australia - Victoria, Bride, Inspired Weddings,


On her blog, Vanessa describes herself as “a vintage girl working in a modern world” and I think her wedding to Chris completely reflected the perfect mix of old and new.



Vanessa and Chris hired Kit Haselden to take their wedding photos for his journalistic inspired wedding photos. Vanessa had worked with Kit previously and has collaborated with him on many projects, so the couple knew they would hire Kit straight away!




The chocolate wedding cake with dulche de leche and ganache (made by Sweet Libertine Cakes) was designed to match Vanessa’s gown.



One of Vanessa’s favourite moments was the speeches. “We’re still trying to work out why our Best Man, Jason was so nervous – he was the star of the show!”


Vanessa wore white peeptoes from Panache Shoes while her bridesmaids wore crystal decorated black peeptoes from Novo.



Of their first dance Vanessa says “We had been rehearsing for months in our kitchen at home.  After a lesson from our old high school English teacher (who is a former ballroom dancer), we set about choreographing our show stopper.  We changed our minds about the music about 50 times, but finally settled on ‘Can’t take my eyes off you’ by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons – there were lifts, dips, cha cha chases and more…It brought the house down!!!!!”


To keep with their simple, romantic wedding style, EmmyRose Stationery designed grey and white invitation with a space for guests to RSVP with their favourite song which would be played on the night. This kept guests of all ages on the dancefloor! (With the help of DJ Alex from Allegro). The Willows space allowed guests to dance inside while other guests took advantage of the Autumn evening outside.


Congratulations Vanessa and Chris on your marriage together! Thank you for sharing your beautiful wedding day with us! Thank you also to Kit Haselden for sharing today’s photographs!

Photos by Kit Haselden

Vanessa and Chris

by | Australia - Victoria, Bride, Inspired Weddings,



Vanessa and Chris

I feel like the luckiest girl in the world showing off today’s wedding! A vintage glam wedding taken into the 21st century with an elegant, urban feel to it!

It’s the long awaited wedding of Ms Polka Dot’s Directory member Princess Cherry Pie & author of blog I’ll Be Your Rock If You’ll Be My Doris! I’m so honoured to bring you the wedding of one of the bubbliest, loveliest ladies I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know- Vanessa and Chris!

Vanessa and Chris met in high school and true to form, Vanessa dishes the full story as to how the newlyweds met. “Chris and I met, aged 12 on our first day of high school!  However, given that he was a jock and I was perpetually uncool, our paths didn’t cross until a few years later.  Our first encounter together was in the Year 7 production of ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ (Me as Red and Chris as the Big Bad Wolf – I even managed to find a card of Little Red Riding Hood, which I gave to Chris with his wedding present) and then again in Year 10 in “Guys and Dolls”, where I asked Chris to pose for a photo backstage and said “Chris, will you be my guy?”.  After that we became the very best of friends and would fall asleep on the phone to each other most nights (BUT WE WERE ‘JUST FRIENDS’ haha) – after high school we kept bumping into one another before Chris left for the USA for a month long holiday.  Whilst away on holiday I was lucky enough to receive a bunch of flowers on Valentine’s Day from guess who… Four days later, as he was leaving the airport, Chris rang and said that he had to see me…

He arrived at my door and proclaimed that he had something to ask me…”Will you be my girlfriend?”  and 7 years later, we were married.

We’ve often joked that our lives are like an episode of The OC (This makes more sense later…), unlikely high school sweet hearts that were just meant to end up together….”

Photos today are by Kit Haselden.


As a makeup artist, Vanessa did her own makeup as well as that of her bridesmaids “I obviously DIY’d the makeup for myself and the girls.  It was so lovely to have something to do during our morning preparations, otherwise I’m sure I would have been a lot more nervous!  I was thrilled with the makeup – it was definitely my BEST bridal party to date.”




One of Vanessa’s wedding day highlights came from her brother “Hearing my little brother tell me that I looked beautiful (He is a young man of few words, but those were the right ones and completely the right time)”.

vanessa-Chris-Melbourne-vintage-wedding16 vanessa-Chris-Melbourne-vintage-wedding17

Vanessa wore a strapless gown with accessories from Mariana Hardwick, while her bridesmaids were dressed is charcoal blue gowns from OJAY. Style By Nature created bouquets (“with very little input” says Vanessa , of dusty miller with cream and mauve roses  for the bridesmaids and cream roses with dusty miller for Vanessa. Vanessa added a blue butterfly to her bouquet for her “something blue” (which doubled as a nod to her name as Vanessa means butterfly).



The boys were dressed in suits from Formalwear Express and shoes from Zu Shoes. The groomsmen each wore cuff links which reflected their personalities – Chris’ were a a gift from Vanessa. He wore silver Tiffany & Co cufflinks which Vanessa purchased when they were in New York City and she’d decided Chris was 100% “the one”.


Vanessa and Chris chose The Willows as the location for their ceremony and reception. Vanessa says “After having spent the day looking at several venues, The Willows was our last stop.  We were early so decided do just do a drive by to suss things out…IT WAS PERFECT!!!  We both agreed it looked like something out of The Great Gatsby (one of our favourite books from school), and after meeting Fiona our coordinator, and walking through the various spaces within the venue (outdoor, glass atrium, dance floor and lounge) we were sold.  (Thank goodness our original date was booked as that turned out to be the date of Melbourne’s worst storm!!!!  Whereas the 12th was a picture perfect day!)”.


Vanessa says “Being the nerd that I am, I LOVE Taylor Swift….and all day I had ‘Today was a fairytale’ playing in my head.  Seriously, everything was absolutely PERFECT!  All our service providers were incredible – I would recommend them to EVERYONE, because it was the small details that made a big difference.  Myself and the bridesmaids were early, so we parked for about 20 minutes and our driver whipped out some lollies for us all to enjoy.  The boys got the same treatment, but with beers!”


One of Vanessa’s favourite moments was traveling to the ceremony with her father “Driving in with Dad I was expecting some final words of advice, but we were both a bit too emotional to talk, so we just sat together holding hands, all the way till he gave me away to Chris.”


Vanessa walked down the aisle to Syd Matter’s cover of “Hello Sunshine”. Vanessa says “This is where the OC reference comes in.  I had been planning this entrance well before we were engaged.  Myself and the bridesmaids entered to Syd Matter’s version of ‘Hello Sunshine’ (From the OC – it’s Summer and Seth’s song….Summer was the cool one and Seth was the nerd one and they still made it work……true OC fans will understand) 😉  I had everything timed to the second so that I got to enter to the big crescendo.”




One of the special ceremony touches came at the suggestion of the couple’s celebrant Peter Raymond. Vanessa recounts “On Peter’s suggestion, we decided to have each member of our bridal party introduced throughout the ceremony, how they met Chris and myself and why it was important to have them standing with us on our wedding day.  I cannot tell you how many comments we have had on that small gesture, and it was all thanks to Peter!  He was excellent!”




Check back this afternoon for more of the gorgeous celebration of Vanessa and Chris!

Photos by Kit Haselden.

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