Katie and Alex’s Relaxed Waterside Wedding

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


Katie & Alex

Forget long white wedding dresses, traditional wedding cakes and even traditional wedding bouquets, today’s celebration of Katie & Alex is anything but traditional and everything casual, relaxed and beautiful.

Katie and Alex did however have a bit of a traditional love story- they met at work! Katie recalls “We met at a small supermarket. Alex worked in produce and I was a checkout chick. We were friends for six months before Alex worked up the courage to ask me out.”

Photographs today are by Scott Ebsary. I love Scott’s romantic, relaxed photographs!

Katie’s hair and makeup was styled by Amy Chan Hair & Makeup Artistry.

Katie adored the retreat she stayed in the night before the wedding – Scotland Island Lodge B&B . She recalls “Mary and I stayed there the night before and got ready there, then Alex & I had our honeymoon there. It was the best place we have ever stayed; the room, food and scenery was amazing. The hosts Rosemary & Colin are so lovely. Alex and I were sitting and relaxing in the garden in the afternoon sun after a day of adventures around the island and Colin brought us Champagne and toasted our marriage.”

Katie wore a short pink Alannah Hill lace gown and carried a bouquet of paper flowers made by Paper Couture. Katie’s bridesmaid wore a Crossroads gown with Novo shoes.

Katie recalls one of the funnier moments of the day.My maid of honour Mary, photographer Scott and I were waiting at the wharf for the ferry – Mary and I had stayed overnight and got ready on Scotland Island. The ferry was due in 5 minutes when I realised I had forgotten my wallet (I didn’t have a bag). Mary and Scott didn’t have enough money for the ferry and it looked like we might miss the hourly ferry. Scott went into action hero mode and he bolted back up the steep steep hill to the B&B, grabbed my wallet, ran back down the hill and we made the ferry.”

Katie walked down the “aisle” to an acoustic cover of “Lovesong” by The Cure. She says “It was amazing! One of our favourite songs.”

Katie and Alex were married at Bayview Yacht Racing Association and chose the dock for their ceremony. Katie remarks “BYRA is  a cute, little sailing club on the water’s edge located at Bayview on Sydney’s Northern Beaches with fabulous Pittwater views. The building is of traditional style with high vaulted ceilings and a new hardwood deck overlooking Pittwater built by the very lovely and friendly volunteers. The brilliant plus about hiring the hall from them apart from the very reasonable cost is that the money you pay for the venue hire goes back into this lovely local club!”

 The couple were married by Robyn Pattison. Katie recalls “The best part of the day was the ceremony. Robyn gave such a fantastic ceremony she had everyone laughing and crying (happy tears of course!) It really reconfirmed what the day was all about and was such a great way to start the celebrations.”

Katie says “he ceremony was very special, Robyn’s “homework” made us realise why our marriage was so special in the not so obvious ways. Plus it was great to share our story with our family and friends.”

Transport was provided by “Amelia K the Church Point Ferry followed by Vanessa the lovely 1976 Kombi. ”

Of their photographer, Katie says “Being a photographer myself the photography was such an important part of the wedding for me. A photo can really capture a moment and bring back memories, once the wedding is over the photos are all that is left of the day. I was so excited when I discovered Scott’s work. Stunning  compositions and completely real and candid – none of that boring staged stuff, I wanted a real and beautiful documentation of the day and Scott captured it better than what I had hoped. Not only that he is a really lovely guy, I have worked for wedding photographers that yell and annoy the happy couple but Scott was great, we hardly noticed he was there.”

The reception continued back at the Bayview Yacht Racing Association in the sweet blue building.

Glenda Davis of Written by Hand  did all of the calligraphy on the stationery as well as the chalkboard sign out the front of the venue. Inside, paper lanterns in hues of blue and yellow and string balls were hung from the ceiling in massed groups.

In lieu of a wedding cake, the couple had a cupcake tower. Katie explains, ” The cupcakes were made by me and Alex helped ice them. They went down really well, every time we visit someone from Alex’s family they expect me to bring a batch!”

Flowers were placed in recycled jam jars and bunting strung between the lanterns on the ceiling.

Katie hired a BBQ chef (who took care of all the food) from All Complete Catering & Hire Services, Katie recalls ” We had yummy sausages from Naturally Organic Meat & Poultry (sweet chilli & thai basil chicken were gone pretty quick), salads from Salad Servers, chopped onions by Mum, Addictive tub of Halomi Cheese from Oriental & Continental Foods, relish from River Flats Estate, bread from the local bakery.”

For their first dance? Katie recalls “We didn’t get around to dancing – too much time yapping!”

Congratulations Katie & Alex! Thank you for sharing your wedding day with us! Thank you also to Scott Ebsary for sharing today’s wedding photographs (and Robyn Pattison for the submission!)

Photographer: Scott Ebsary / Bride's Dress: Alannah Hill / Bridesmaid Dresses: Crossroads / Hair & Makeup Artist: Amy Chan Hair & Makeup Artistry / Paper Flowers & Decorations: Paper Couture / Venue: Bayview Yacht Racing Association / Ceremony Officiant: Robyn Pattison / Music: Dave Calandra / Catering: All Complete Catering & Hire Services / Calligraphy: Glenda Davis of Written by Hand / Bridesmaid Shoes: Novo / Groom's Attire: Tarocash / Groom's Attire: Ben Sherman / Accomodation: Scotland Island Lodge B&B
Visit Ms Polka Dot's Directory

Natasha & Sebastiaan’s Intimate Garden Wedding

by | Australia - Victoria, Bride, Inspired Weddings,


Natasha and Sebastiaan

 I never quite get over the feeling of an intimate, backyard wedding. It’s almost magical because everything seems that much more heightened- emotions, traditions and moments. Two cultures came together (Muslim and Jewish) for a very special marriage ceremony.

“We met at work four years ago in The Netherlands. After 3 years together, we decided to take the leap and migrated to Australia. Marriage wasn’t really on our minds. Then  Sebastiaan’s father got diagnosed with cancer in February this year and we had the wish  to consolidate our relationship while both families were still able to travel to Australia. After some months of waiting for green light for Sebastiaan’s father to travel, we got the go-ahead in August and planned the wedding in 3 months (it can be done!).

The most remarkable thing about our relationship would have be the fact that Sebastiaan stems from a Jewish tradition and Natasha originates from a Muslim – Catholic background. Although it hasn’t always been easy, our families have come to accept and embrace these differences.”

Photos are by Laki Sideris. I love Laki’s photo journalistic style which captures the emotion and intensity of the day but doesn’t lose the humor and lightness.

Natasha’s hair and makeup was styled by Rachael Rayner. She chose an elegant lace gown designed by Deborah Selleck with shoes from Jeanette Maree.

Sebastiaan chose a grey suit from Joe Black The Tailor.

Of their photographer, Natasha says ” Sebastiaan had seen some of Laki’s work and was really impressed. Laki tells stories rather than shooting pictures and he has an eye for quirky details. He did a fantastic job on the day despite the fact that, as it later turned out, was actually coming down with the flu and was quite ill. He captured us, our family and friends and the celebration in a very original way. He really took the time to get to know everybody and how people related to each other. He used this info in his pictures and we’re more than happy with the result. ”

The floral arrangements in the day were styled by Flos Florum,

Natasha and Sebastiaan held their ceremony in the Rose Garden in the St Kilda Botanic Gardens.

For her walk down the aisle, Natasha recalls “We chose a violin track from gypsy swing artist Django Reinhardt, emotional but not too heavy.”

Natasha remarks “The ceremony and reception were both outdoors, which we thought embodied the Australian way. We did check the weather forecast maniacally for weeks ahead, as Melbourne weather is famously fickle, but thankfully it was a dry and sunny day.”

Natasha  remarks, “Having both of the fathers embrace each other’s culture and respect each other’s tradition is amazing. They both have strong characters and can be pretty headstrong. But the smile on their faces made once we got married was priceless. The fact that Sebastiaan’s father was present made it a very special day. His father was diagnosed with cancer and the treatment made him very ill. The travel from Europe to Australia was pretty demanding, but worth the investment.”

The ceremony was a blending of the two families cultures. Natasha explains “Our goal was to bring together all of our friends and family and celebrate the beauty of two traditions coming together. I am from a Muslim background and Sebastiaan is from a Jewish background. In the ceremony we choose to take important elements from both cultures and use them to on the one hand show respect to our parents and out heritage as well as show our friends who we are and why we have decided to get married. The photographer Laki was aware of all this and definitely knew how to capture those beautiful moments without making too much of drama of it. In a very playful way he knew how to make everybody at ease.”

The couple chose Sharon Vanderputt to officiate the ceremony.

The reception was held in a Melbourne backyard.

Red Door Corner Store catered the event.

The wedding was planned in three months. Natasha explains “Due to our families being overseas and Sebastiaan’s father not knowing if and when he would be able to travel, we had about 3 months to plan the whole wedding. This meant a lot of improvising and also some budget-driven DIY as we hadn’t saved up for the event. We DIYed the whole reception venue and decoration with lots of help from families and friends, made our own (digital) invitations, did all the planning including logistics for overseas visitors and provided the music for both ceremony and reception ourselves using a laptop and sound system.”

Natasha loved “The fact that after only one year in Australia we were lucky enough to have a wonderful group of friends celebrate our special day with us. And the family and friends that came over from interstate or overseas and helped us so much – priceless.”

There was more surprising celebrations. Natasha recalls “We hadn’t really anticipated any dancing and certainly no formal first dance since it was a daytime, outdoors affair, but it so happened that  someone put on some Arabic bellydance music and a few moments later we were shimmying away.”

Congratulations Natasha and Sebastiaan! Thank you for sharing your wedding day with us! Thank you also to Laki Sideris. for sharing today’s images!

Photographer: Laki Sideris / Bride's Dress: Deborah Selleck / Bride's Shoes: Jeanette Maree / Groom's Attire: Joe Black The Tailor / Hairstylist: Rachael Rayner / Flowers & Decor: Rachael Rayner / Flowers & Decor: Flos Florum / Ceremony Venue: Rose Garden, St Kilda Botanic Gardens / Ceremony Officiant: Sharon Vanderputt / Reception Venue: Private Home / Catering: Red Door Corner Store / Wedding Registry: Melbourne Wedding Registry

Wedding Day Stripes

by | Bride, Reception, Wedding Inspiration


1. Bridesmaids photo by Kate Osborne via Snippet & Ink 2. Napkins via Martha Stewart 3. Cake from M.Robin Cake Design 4. Kate Spade inspiration shoot by  Edyta Szyszlo via 100 Layer Cake 5. Cake from Martha Stewart Weddings 6.  bow tie and boutonniere by Erin Hearts Court via Once Wed 7. Bar cart from Martha Stewart Weddings 8. Stripe ring pillow from Martha Stewart Weddings 9. Oscar De La Renta gown via Brides 10. Stripe vellum candles from Martha Stewart Weddings 11. Photo by  Jonathan Canlas Photography via Brooklyn Bride

Stripes are a bold move in wedding décor and signal to your guests that you are not conventional!

In a nautical theme, navy or sapphire and white striped tablecloths will set the theme. Just add touches of red, sky blue and sand in bunting, shells, marine artifacts and the sea outside.

A satin striped cloth underneath a patterned over-cloth looks feminine, elegant and different. Try a soft sage or ivory striped cloth and  throw over a smaller cloth in florals – say with apricots, pinks, lemons but with the sage as a colour in the pattern. Try spots or checks as your over-cloth, or an embroidered fabric such as sari material, or organza with an embroidered border.

A plain cloth underneath with a striped cloth on the top –  swagged or with tassels as embellishment looks elegant.

Try striped fabric to create a ‘tented ceiling’ gathered into an ornate pleat in the middle of the room. Hang a ‘chandelier’ of flowers, fairy lights, glass beading or a real chandelier from the centre and your room suddenly becomes grand.

Striped market umbrellas, striped favour boxes or noodle boxes, a subtle stripe in your wedding party fabric, ties, pocket handkerchiefs, socks, striped crockery.

Or create a striped effect by having tablecloths in white edged with a double stripe of black ribbon, black and white ticking napkins. Consider using a bold black and white stripe in upholstery fabric, over which you place a white or black linen cloth edged in crystals.

Ten Engagement Party Tips

by | Bride, Engagements


I’ve had a few fun lists floating around in my head for some time and today I wanted to kick them off by focusing on the engagement party! Leave a comment with your tips, because I’d love to hear them!

1. Ignore Timelines

While sometimes timelines apply when it comes to celebrating your engagement, if it takes you a little longer than three months to get your head around your sparkly new stage of romance, don’t stress. Those who love you won’t care and will celebrate with you anyway!

2. Hire a Photographer

If you’re a sentimental sort (i.e me) consider hiring a photographer. For such a casual event you can look at budding photography students. Even if it’s for a few hours you’ll get some gorgeous photos of yourself in engagement glow, and your loved ones.

3. Stop

Make sure you find your partner in amongst the celebrations, hold their hand and say “LOOK, We’re at our engagement party!” Stop and smell the roses, soak it in!

4. Don’t be afraid to host it yourself

Seriously, it’s not a big deal to throw your own engagement party. It doesn’t have to be hosted by parents, or friends. You can host your own and have a ball doing it!

5. Send thank yous

Get in practice for the wedding by sending thank you cards. I’m not sure why this tip has to be written but each guest needs to be thanked for attendance, and if they gave a gift.

6. Break the ice

It’s true that your friends and family are adults, but it’s fun to include a few fun things that can get people mingling – especially as this may be the first time your various friendship groups have come together. A photo booth is a tried and true classic (easy to pull together yourself with some fun fabric and a few props) but setting up fun games like croquet and bocce, a DIY cocktail station, photos of yourself and your beloved taken over the duration of your relationship, even a different kind of interactive guestbook, can all get guests talking.

7. Don’t invite guests that won’t be there for the vows

Allow me to get a little Emily Post on you. While it’s hard to know your guest list when you’re still in the engagement haze, it really is impolite to invite guests to your engagement party that you won’t invite to your wedding day (except if you’re eloping, of course!). Sit down and think through who you might want at your wedding and make sure you think through the actions and reactions. As with every decision around the wedding there are choices made which have repercussions long after the day. The question is, whether those decisions are worth the invitation!

8. Eat like a king

Make sure you provide enough food and drink for your guests. It’s funny, food and drink is often a lasting memory for guests (and we have all heard the stories of people having to stop by a fast food chain on the way home!) So whether you are hiring a caterer or catering yourself make sure you provide enough food (taking into account guest’s dietary restrictions) and alcoholic and non alcoholic options for beverages. It needn’t be expensive or fancy- things like serving a fun cocktail can cut down on bar costs and there are plenty of options for parties with low food budgets- an afternoon tea  or a dessert function are fun ideas!

9. Get really organised

Set up a dropbox or Google document and share it! Itemise your vendors involved and break down your costs against your budget. Note whether the vendor has been booked and confirmed. For parties outside of home, make a list of absolutely everything you need to cart to the venue (including often forgotten essentials like sticky tape, scissors and even aspirin). Number the boxes and make yourself a list so there are no last minute “where is the guestbook pen?” Write up every task that needs completing (hanging lanterns, greeting caterer, passing around the guestbook) and delegate. The more organised you are, the less stressed out you’ll be and the more you can sit back and enjoy!

10. Do it your way

Especially for those hosting their own parties! The engagement party is really the first time most couples face the challenges of the combined family & friends celebration in such a large format. So make sure you stay true to what you want for your party – whether that may be a picnic in the park or a dinner with friends. Make sure it’s fun and reflective of what you both want. (Oh and traditions? It’s completely up to you whether there are speeches, cake or any other formalities!)


Photos from Anitra and Ben’s Engagement Party by Leo Farrell