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Friday Roundup

by | Blog News, Bride



Photo by Alt Images Photography via A Glamorous Arrival Aboard The ‘Mon Cheri’

Oh goodness Dotties, I am somewhat in a flap! Tomorrow Mr Polka and I jet out to a tropical island (hard work!) to explore their wedding venues and honeymoon offerings. It’s always a lot of fun when we get to do this, but I’ve been spending the week sorting everything out. Spontaneity is never my strong point!

What did you get up to this week? We’ve had a big week on the blogs, let’s round it up!


The most gorgeous way to decorate your wedding chairs- Carnation Chair Garland Tutorial

A Glamorous Arrival Aboard The ‘Mon Cheri

So what exactly are the The Benefits of A Wedding Day Coordinator? We find out!

Continuing Ginuary with The Star’s ‘Other Side’

Groom Will shares his Inspired Memories

This wedding band will Get Your Party Started

Amelia goes Behind The Door With….Events At Luna Park

Curly treats with Avaline Script

Claire shares her post wedding wisdom with Inspired Words

Love the relaxed vibe of Jane and Mark’s Relaxed Intimate Pittwater Wedding

Daniel shares his Groom Style

Zoe Dent of The Wedding Nest shares all the tips and tricks for modern wedding registries.

Our favourite Vintage Style Lockets

Love the colours of the background Kiri & Damien’s Santorini Destination Wedding

Friday Roundup 22nd Jan 16

Florent Vidal are holding a photography special for 2016! To celebrate the year, they’re discounting photography portrait sessions by 16% (includes couple sessions, pregnancy, family, baby, kids etc). The offer is valid until the 31st of January 2016 and all you need to do is mention NY16 upon booking! See full details here.

The Wedding List Co are celebrating the new year with a special offer! Sign up for a wedding registry in January and receive free delivery in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne, a free wedding website and free newlywed robes.

Sydney designer Jennifer Regan is hosting a new year sale! There’s up to 50% from the Couture collection with prices ranging from $3000 to $5000 and up to 50% off selected styles from the Love and Lace, Chic and Signature collections with prices ranging from $1000 to $2500. Plus 10% off new orders on full priced gowns. The sale ends Sunday 31st of January 2016.  Make your appointment by calling| 02 9565 2595 412.

Matt Reed Photography is making an offer to Polka Dot Bride readers! Book any wedding photography package in January and receive an engagement shoot for free! Your engagement shoot will include one hour coverage, all of your photos at high & low res delivered on a USB stick, an online web gallery and 30 images per location in a 7×7 inch book. Normally offered at $600, this offer closes January 31st.

The Wedding Academy has put together a 2016 trend report and were kind enough to ask Polka Dot Bride to comment! The report is a great read and covers everything from receptions to transport, styling and flowers! Visit their website to register and download the free report.

Our film of the week this week comes from Sunny Siu VIdeography. The wedding of Kris and Markus for me is all about that Summer joy, that summer vibe, that summer romance!


Visit Ms Polka Dot's Directory

10 Tips For Newly Engaged Couples

by | Bride, Engagements


It’s no secret that every where you turn at this time of year, someone has just announced their engagement. So with love so very definitely in the air, and the prospect of so many weddings on the horizon today I have 10 tips for newly engaged couples who may be slightly overwhelmed at the prospect of the months ahead!

1. You can enjoy being engaged without planning a wedding for as long as you like

I bet one of the first questions you were asked when you announced your engagement was “What’s the date?”. There can be so much excitement around having something set in stone, but honestly, take your time, soak up the engagement bliss! You don’t have to decide anything quickly!


Photo by Nicolle Versteeg Photography via Jasmin & Alex’s Relaxed Waterside Engagement

2. It’s helpful to create a wedding mission statement

This is the fun part, sit down with your beloved and a good glass of your favourite something and dream about your wedding day. What does it look like? What does it feel like? Who is there? What is the most important to you? What do you not care about? Write it down!

By creating a mission statement, you keep your focus and can eliminate stress when things go awry. If something comes in over budget, or someone asks you about a tradition you don’t care about, your mission statement will be able to guide you towards the decision that works for you.


Photo by Juddric Photography via Brooke & Alan’s Sweet Paddington Engagement Photos

3. Your own personal likes and loves as a couple are the best place to start.

Our biggest love at Polka Dot Bride, are seeing weddings which reflect the couple. Take your life together and look at what you love. Do you spend your weekends at a favourite cafe? Do you adore a certain restaurant? Can you always be found on a farm? Do you eat cake or prefer wine and cheese? Do you always have fresh flowers? Do you love a certain food? You can include each of these elements in your day!

If you are a city loving couple who loves nothing more than roaming the urban streets – then look towards the city for your wedding venue. If you hate going out at night and adore long lunches, maybe a lunch time wedding is the style for you. Everything about a wedding style, theme and location is as negotiable and flexible as you want it to be. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be yours.


Photo by Florido Weddings via Elzee and Luke’s Whimsical Thailand Engagement Photos

4. Talk money first

Money is always a difficult subject, but it’s also a grown up one (there’s a reason why wedding planning can be stressful!) so before you get close to setting the wedding date, it’s a good idea to talk to everyone involved and figure out your wedding budget. Whether you are paying for the wedding yourself, or family is helping you, setting this out from the beginning can avoid that awkward moment of not really knowing how much you can allocate to things.


Photo by Gemma Clarke Photography via Anna and Scott’s Australian Farm Engagement Photos

5. Collecting inspiration is a good idea. If you know when to stop.

Figuring out what you want can be overwhelming, so reading wedding blogs and magazines, looking at Pinterest, pinning pictures, tearing out pages is a great way to start getting a idea of what’s out there.

But it’s also a good idea to stop once you’ve made your decisions. Settle comfortably into the decisions you’ve made knowing they are the right ones for you and don’t let yourself become overwhelmed and feel like you have to keep adding this and that. Know when to stop.


Photo by Laki Sideris via Kendall and Zach’s Romantic Golden Sunset Engagement Photos

6. The best vendors for you are the ones you get along with

Can you imagine being with someone you just don’t really like that much for twelve hours on what is supposed to be one of the happiest days of your life? The best wedding vendors for your wedding are ones you get along with and can put your full faith in.

By this token, it makes sense to meet them (especially your photographer, cinematographer and planner as you’ll be with them the most) in person or via Skype to figure out whether you gel. Be sure to really know what you want (or don’t want) as you meet with your vendors, the best vendors will make you feel special because they’ll ‘get you’ and your vision for your day.


Photo by Lucas & Co Photography via  Maddi and Matt’s Golden Meadow Engagement Photos

7. It’s okay to ask for help

Isn’t this a sentence that seems to follow us all anywhere? There is so much that goes into wedding planning and there is no medal if you do it all on your own. Make sure you ask for help when it gets too much – whether that is from a friend or family member or a wedding professional. You might not want to put weight on others, but chances are they’ll also be more than willing to pitch in.

I am a huge advocate of wedding planners (even if it’s just for the day) – you still get freedom to come up with your own ideas and you still have to do plenty of things, but planners can take over the minutiae of confirming vendors, setting up things on the day, solving issues as they come up, and bringing your wedding to life. DIY is always more of a headache (in terms of your own time, skill and even cost) than  hiring professionals, so really evaluate your priorities.


Photo by Christine Lim via Paulina and Adam’s Cosy Garden Engagement Photos

8. You may be pretty emotional & overwhelmed

I’m really not sure there is such a thing as a no stress wedding. No matter your decisions, there are a lot of elements coming into play. Your own wishes for the day, what your partner wishes for the day, your families’ thoughts, endless decisions (even for simple affairs!), friends input, all tied up with this day that has been “the day” projected onto us since we were little. It’s okay to be emotional, it’s okay to feel a little rocky at times.


Photo by iZO Photography via Nicole & Josh’s Romantic Bell Rapids Engagement

9. Don’t forget life goes on after the wedding

So often couples are told “this is your one day” and “ignore everyone else and make your own decisions!” and while I am completely on board with this day being about you and your beloved, unless you are eloping, family and friends will be involved.

Sometimes we get so swept up in one day that the decisions we make, which seem innocuous at the time, can have long lasting effects. If you really hurt your mum’s feelings because you tell her blatantly her opinion on something doesn’t matter, or you leave mum and dad or a best friend out of something like buying your wedding dress,  if Great Aunt Allison has been hoping for an invitation since you were born and you decide that no, she isn’t getting an invite. The decisions you make may cause hurt and pain, or friction that will not stop just because the wedding day is over.

Your family and friends are going to be very invested in your day, especially your parents. Making decisions that honour both yourselves and the people important to you can be difficult, and it’s a touch challenging balancing it all. But it can be really important to remember when a decision is a cut and dried ‘no’ to you, that there may be more to it for someone you hold dear.


Photo by Dan at All Grown Up Weddings via Belinda and Dean’s Arboretum Engagement Photos

10. You don’t have to be different, just be yourself

If you start to ever feel pressure to plan things a certain way, that the venue, the flowers, the dress you chosen aren’t unique enough, different enough, pretty enough. Stop. The only people you need to be, on your wedding day, is yourself.

Don’t wear a ballgown if you’re always in love with beautiful sheath dresses. Don’t marry in a country barn if you’ve never set foot outside the city. Or do – but do it in a way that is all about you and your partner and not expectations, or other’s judgements. A wedding is not a competitive sport, it’s just about you and your beloved.


Photo by Kylie South Photography via Rachel & Paul’s Adelaide Hills Orchard Engagement

Ashleigh & Griffin’s Classic Fremantle Wedding

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


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Ashleigh & Griffin

Ashleigh and Griffin wanted a traditional, vintage feel for their classic Fremantle wedding. Ashleigh noting, “Traditional, vintage, romantic, personalised. Our inspiration was a rustic vintage theme that was traditional but not overly formal.” The couple chose Tanya Voltchanskaya to capture their day.

Ashleigh tells the story of how they came to be. “Griffin and I are high school sweethearts who met on the first day of Year 8 in High School. By the end of Year 8 we had started dating and the rest is history. This month we have been together for 11 years.”

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Ashleigh chose a Mia Solano gown from Luv Bridal, explaining, “Early in my engagement I fell in love with a Watters gown that was not available in any of the dress stores in Perth for me to try on. About three months into our engagement we went on a 7 week trip to Canada, the UK and Europe and while I was in London, I went dress shopping with a girl friend who lives over there now, specifically to try on the Watters gown. I tried it on and absolutely fell in love but it was a little bit out of my price range.

My plan was to get a dress maker in Perth to make me a similar style once I was home. After arriving back in Perth I went Bridesmaid dress shopping with my maid of honour one afternoon and we went into Luv Bridal to have a look for her. While she was trying on bridesmaid dresses she asked me to just try on a few wedding dresses.

I tried on my gown (which was completely different to the Watters gown) and fell in love. I went back a couple of days later with my mum, two of my other bridesmaids and my aunty and they convinced me it was the one and I so bought it. This was all still around 18 months out from my wedding!”

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The bride finished her look with a string of pearls her father had given her mother on their own wedding day.

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Ashleigh and Griffin chose Point Roe Park, Mosman Park for their ceremony.

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The bride chose Yellow by Coldplay for her walk down the aisle. She remembers, “I remember getting to the end of the aisle and seeing Griffin waiting for me. My dad and I stopped for a moment for me to take it all in before walking the last few steps. I had been dreaming about walking down the aisle every time I heard Coldplay’s ‘Yellow’ for years and now it was finally happening!”

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“We loved seeing Griff’s Nan with a tear in her eye after she saw the chalkboard sign we had set up with a quote and photos of our grandparents who couldn’t be there but who we knew were watching down over us. We also loved having our mums act as our witnesses when we signed the marriage certificate – they were both so touched.”

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“I’m glad we had a big wedding! There were a couple of times during the wedding planning that I couldn’t believe I was organising a wedding for 180 guests and honestly just considered eloping. But now I am so glad that we had a large wedding. It meant I had to cut other things out of my budget to keep the guest list so big but it was so worth it! It was so fantastic to have all of our loved ones in the one place, celebrating with us. I wouldn’t change that for anything!”

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Guests enjoyed afternoon tea and garden games after the ceremony.

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The couple hired a tram from Fremantle Trams to get around on the day.

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Of their photographer, the bride remembers, “Our photographer Tanya Voltchanskaya was amazing! It felt like having an extra friend with us during the bridal party picnic as she was so easy to get along with we felt so comfortable with her. The photos we have seen look amazing and have the artistic look to them that we were hoping for.”

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Lua Leuca styled the bridal party flowers for the day.

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The reception celebrations kicked off at Fremantle Town Hall, Ashleigh telling, “I was looking for somewhere that allowed us to bring in our own caterer and alcohol to try and keep our costs down and that also seated up to 200 guests. It also needed to be somewhere that matched our rustic/vintage theme and the Fremantle Town Hall is such a breathtaking old heritage building that it was an obvious choice.”

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“One of the biggest DIY projects I undertook was making 180 jars of salted caramel popcorn about a week before the wedding (with the help of my family and some beautiful friends). I also made the table runners, all stationery including invitations, menus, table names and place cards, the seating chart and all of the wooden and chalkboard signs.

I also sourced 100 mismatched jars and vases, around 80 hardcover vintage novels and around 50 tea light candle holders from op shops over the course of our engagement to use as centerpieces and to hold flowers. Rather than throw out or try and sell all of the props and décor I have collected, I am now starting up a wedding décor hire business in the Peel region called Little Vintage Hire Co.”

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Lisa Rossi from Design Your Day ensured everything ran smoothly on the day, “Lisa Rossi from Design Your Day was absolutely worth her weight in gold. She came in the day before the wedding with her husband and kids to start helping us set up the hall. She had had a horrible week personally but she did not let that affect her professionalism and efforts. On the night she was incredible. Everything ran more smoothly than I could have expected and she made sure Griffin and I (and the rest of the bridal party and our parents) had everything we needed all night. I could not recommend her more!”

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“When we arrived at the reception. The Fremantle Town hall has this cute little back stage area with couches a coffee table, fridge and dressing room. Our amazing wedding coordinator had some drinks and an antipasto platter ready for the bridal party so that we could chill for 10 minutes while the guests were being seating in the hall.

While we were waiting I had a peek through the curtains behind the stage and it was overwhelming to see our 180 guests filling up the hall. Around that time I had been thinking how quickly the day was flying by and it was such a nice moment to realise that we still had a whole party with all our loved ones ahead of us! It was a surreal moment.”

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Of the first dance, Ashleigh and Griffin remember, “We chose Romeo and Juliet (cover) by the Killers – it was at the beginning of the reception in front of all our guests at the town hall.  Griffin had torn the ligament in his left ankle about three weeks before the wedding and we thought he was going to need to be on crutches all day. It was amazing that I was finally dancing with the man I have loved for over a decade on our wedding day – and not even a torn ligament could stop us!”

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“There were so many highlights from reception! The food was amazing, I got so many comments from guests saying how absolutely delicious it was. The catering company did a fantastic job, the wait staff were so attentive – our drinks were never empty! Our DJ was amazing and ensured the dance floor was full all night from the moment the mains were finished. The speeches – people are still commenting about how funny the Best Man speech was, and both our dads and my maid of honour did a great job as well.”

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The reception was a much talked about event thanks to vendors like Brad Jenkins from Spectacle and Jacob Ferreo from Creative Catering , the bride noting, “Brad Jenkins from Spectacle music made sure the dance floor was full all night and also does some amazing acoustic work. I would definitely recommend him to future brides as he is very versatile.

Jacob and his team at Creative Catering also need a mention. The food was incredible and their wait staff were so professional and attentive. Nothing was too much to ask. When we started to run out of beer just before the mains were served (as we provided all the alcohol and didn’t buy enough beer – oops) my mum and Dad were going to catch a cab to the bottle shop to buy more. When the maître de realised this she wouldn’t let them – and sent two wait staff to go and buy more instead. It was little things like that that we really appreciated and helped to make the night so enjoyable.”

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Congratulations Ashleigh and Griffin! Thank you for sharing your day with us! Thank you also to Tanya Voltchanskaya for haring today’s wedding with us.

Photographer: Tanya Voltchanskaya / Day of Wedding Coordinator: Lisa Rossi from Design Your Day / Bride’s Dress: Mia Solano / Bridal Salon: Luv Bridal / Bride’s Shoes: Modcloth / Bride’s Jewelry: (Earrings) Mia Solano / Bride’s Jewelry: (Necklace) Borrowed from bride's mother / Groom’s Attire: Tarocash / Groom’s Shoes: Tarocash / Groomsmen Attire: Tarocash / Bridesmaid Dresses: Forever New / Bridesmaid Dresses: Review / Bridesmaid Dresses: Love Honor / Bridesmaid Accessories: Etsy / Bridesmaid Accessories: Urban Outfitters / Hairstylist: Doo Wop Hair, Fremantle / Makeup Artist: Doo Wop Hair, Fremantle / Florist (bouquets, buttonholes and corsages): Julia Foulsham from Lua Leuca / Florist: (ceremony and reception décor flowers): Claudia Gorton from Blomma Society / Invitations & Stationery: Bride / Ceremony Venue: Point Roe Park, Mosman Park / Ceremony Officiant: Brad Joss (Bride’s cousin) / Reception Venue: Fremantle Town Hall / Prop & Furniture Hire: Emma Donkin from Turtle and The Pelican / Prop & Furniture Hire: Tanya Locke from Little Love Story / Band: Brad Jenkins from Spectacle / Favors: Homemade caramel popcorn made by Bride and family / Catering: Jacob Ferreo from Creative Catering / Cake Baker: Steve from Dewsberry Café, Mandurah / Cake Topper: Willow Tree / Wedding Rings: Mazzucchellis (Bride) / Wedding Rings: Andrew Ralph Diamond Jewellers (Groom) / Transport: Fremantle Trams

Fiona & Anthony’s Gorgeous Restaurant Wedding

by | Australia - Victoria, Bride, Inspired Weddings,


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Fiona & Anthony

I love every bit of Fiona and Anthony’s gorgeous restaurant wedding. From the bride’s tea length dress, the biggest smiles, the hot pink reception decor, the watercolour effect invitations – it all comes together to create a beautiful, modern celebration captured by Alison Mayfield.

“We met in Sorrento over the Summer holidays.”

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Janice Wu styled the bride and bridesmaid’s hair and makeup. The wedding style kicking off with a hot pink watercolour designed invitation created by the groom’s brother.

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The bride chose Pamela Usanto  to make her wedding gown, explaining, “I have a dear friend by the name of Pamela Usanto who designed and made my dress. It was a bit of a mad rush, I kept putting off the fittings as I was so busy at the time. I think I ended up giving Pam 2 months to make the dress! I didn’t actually pick the dress up until the day before the wedding, but felt totally confident in Pam so wasn’t stressed. She is patient, sweet and incredibly talented. I would recommend her to anyone!

Being Winter, I wanted a dress appropriate for the season, yet wanted it to feel a little more relaxed and fun, hence the shortened length and cut-off sleeves.”

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Fiona and Anthony chose Immaculate Conception Church Hawthorn  for their wedding ceremony, telling, “The Church was a really important element for Anthony and his family, which therefore made it important to me too! It was also convenient being Winter to have the ceremony indoors. Immaculate Conception Hawthorn was mainly chosen for its location, it was in close proximity for the guests to the venue, they just had to jump on a tram or get a five minute taxi.”

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For her walk down the aisle, Fiona remembers,”I chose Lana Del Ray’s song Video Games, which was played on the organ. It sounded insanely good, really moody and powerful. Being a church, I thought an organ was the best option, but wanted to take it to the next level by having the organist play a modern song. He did a great job.”

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“More than anything else, I wanted the ceremony to be as speedy as possible, I was really nervous about it! It was important that all guests feel welcome, whether they were religious or not. It needed to be from the heart and both Anthony and I preferred traditional vows. We included one reading as it is a requirement of the church, which Anthony’s beautiful sisters Anna and Jane read together.”

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Fiona’s bridesmaid wore a navy dress from Life with Bird.

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Of their photographer, Fiona remembers, “Alison from Alison Mayfield Photography was so lovely. We didn’t even know she was there most of the time, which is exactly what we wanted! We both felt quite uncomfortable by the idea of a photographer snapping us in every moment, but Alison did it so discretely. We didn’t make it easy on her, I think we gave her 30 minutes worth of time after the ceremony and that was it! She’s a gem!”

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The celebrations were held at Hellenic Republic. Fiona remarking” The reception venue was really important to me. I didn’t want it to be a function room, it needed to have character and warmth and most importantly, the food needed to be amazing. We always loved eating at Hellenic Republic and when I was on the hunt for our wedding venue, I was searching around for places that weren’t commonly used for weddings, I didn’t like the idea that guests may have been there before, I wanted an element of surprise. As soon as I checked out the space upstairs at Hellenic Republic, I knew it was it! Anthony trusted me and let me run with it from there.

Kelly and her team at Hellenic Republic, they were unreal! I could not say one bad word! When I went in the day before to drop off a few bits and pieces, the staff were hand-ironing my linen so there wasn’t a line in sight! I knew from that point I was in super safe hands and didn’t have a worry in the world.”

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“I did do one special little thing for our parents. I stole a couple of shots from their wedding albums of when they were married, took them to a printing specialist and had them re-sized, lightened etc and then displayed them in gorgeous clear perspex Country Road frames alongside beautiful florals and candles on the night. I then gave it to them as a gift at the end of the night. We look up to our parents and respect how hard they have worked on their marriages and hope to follow in their footsteps.”

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Of the wedding style, Fiona notes “It was gorgeous, tasteful, fun and happy! It was thoughtfully styled and planned out, yet the intention was for it to be relaxed and most of all fun! I am a bit of a girly girl, have a love for beautiful florals and with a background in weddings, I certainly felt a sense of pressure to create something beautiful for our guests.”

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The finishing touches were so important to Fiona, who explains, “One other little thing that was a must for me was hiring in some quality linen – from Allie at Table Art of course! It makes a huge difference to the overall look and feel of a space.”

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Brett Currell styled the floral arrangements for the day, while Ab Fab Cakes created a two tier pale pink and metallic gold cake. “Brett Currell also did a gorgeous job with my flowers, as did Daniel with our stationery and Ab Fab with my simple yet pretty cake.”

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The couple chose not to have a first dance, the bride remembering, “We actually chose not to have a ‘first dance’ as such. Instead, we had our Garth Ploog and the band learn Johnnie Farnham’s song ‘Take the Pressure Down’ and had everyone join us up the dance floor for fun! Neither of us are slow dancing types and the thought of everyone watching us in that awkward moment just wasn’t us. It worked really well, so glad we did that. Garth and the band did such a great job!”

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Congratulations on tying the knot Fiona and Anthony! Thank you for sharing your day with us! Thank you to Alison Mayfield  for sharing today’s celebration!

Photographer: Alison Mayfield / Bride’s Dress: Pamela Usanto / Bride’s Shoes: Fendi / Groom’s Attire: MJ Bale / Groom’s Shoes: Florisheim / Bridesmaid Dresses: Life with Bird / Hairstylist: Janice Wu / Makeup Artist: Janice Wu / Flowers: Brett Currell / Invitations & Stationery: Groom's brother/Best Man Daniel / Ceremony Venue: Immaculate Conception Church Hawthorn / Reception Venue: Hellenic Republic / Linen: Table Art / Band: Garth Ploog and his band / Cake Baker: Ab Fab Cakes / Wedding Rings: Larsen Jewellery / Transport: Range Rover Wedding Cars / Wedding Registry: Myer
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