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Ainslea & Tim’s Rain-Filled Country Garden Wedding

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


Ainslea & Tim

We’ve featured a lot of rainy day weddings around these parts, we love them, we even embrace them and sometimes wish that it would pour down. But todays? It completely brings to light why a rainy day wedding can not just save your plans, but actually turn out to give your wedding day a special, mystical quality. For Ainslie and Tim, the bucketing skies didn’t deter their outdoor ceremony and the result? A mountain filled, misty backdrop that enveloped them and their favourite people in a special kind of magic. Luckily for us, Ava Me Photography was there to capture it all.

It was at a youth group that these two met, sharing many mutual friends and finally making it official with a romantic hand hold during a zombie movie one New Years Eve.

It was on a sneaky road trip that the groom popped the question, Ainslea fills us in. “I had planned to take the Friday off on the 19th of May 2017. Tim decided to take this day off with me so we planned to drive down to Wollongong as this was one of our favourite go-to places for day trips. What I didn’t know is that Tim had already ordered a ring from the US a couple of months back which had been delivered about two weeks earlier.

Tim picked me up from my house and had even packed a picnic lunch for us to have on the beach. It was pretty overcast when we left so I was wearing a jumper and boots (nothing beachy at all) and unfortunately when we got to Wollongong the weather was awful, it was freezing, windy, raining, and it looked like there was no chance of any sun or a chance to sit on the beach, so we sat at a picnic bench under a gazebo to eat the lunch Tim had packed with our coats and hoods blocking the wind and rain.

Amazingly, and out of nowhere, after we finished lunch the sky suddenly cleared up, the rain stopped, it warmed up and there was blue sky, so we decided to take the opportunity to go for a walk along the beach. We got about five minutes into our walk before I got too hot and made us walk back to the car so I could take my boots and coat off as if Tim probably wasn’t nervous enough already walking around with a ring in his jacket. We went back on our walk along the beach and stopped about halfway where we just stood and had a bit of a cuddle. After a few minutes of silence, Tim said that he had a question for me and got down on one knee in the wet sand and asked me to marry him. It was surreal and so private and just so Tim. As soon as we got back to the path to walk up to the lighthouse it started raining again. Perfect timing with our 30 minutes of sunshine.”

A production manager at a digital printing company, the groom designed and printed every piece of stationery himself – right down to the invitations!

The bride found her delicate Sophia Tolli gown at Penrith Bridal Centre with the help of her mum. She remembers “My mum has always had an eye for anything different or fashion that stands out a bit. She’s an incredibly stylish woman and looks amazing in anything so sometimes I’m a bit sceptical that what she likes or suggests will suit me, but she has always seemed to know better. She spotted my Sophia Tolli dress on the rack at Penrith Bridal Centre after I had already tried a few dresses on that hadn’t really grabbed me. Being open minded I tried the dress on and surprise surprise, Mum knew better than me.
I loved the beading on the front, the capped shoulders and the low back. It was elegant with a bit of sparkle and it was an easy pick.
We went to a couple of other dress shops the following weekend just for the sake of looking, but I kept comparing to the Sophia Tolli dress so we went back and bought it.
I think my dress is especially special to me because it was spotted by my Mum. I still go into our spare room at home from time to time and look at it because it’s so beautiful.”

Despite the pouring rain, the couple chose to continue with their outdoor ceremony overlooking the mountains at Blue Mountains Botanic Gardens. Ainslea sharing “I had always wanted an outdoor wedding ceremony and it was important to us both that we held our wedding in the Blue Mountains as we’ve both grown up here. We chose the Blue Mountains Botanic Gardens in Mt Tomah because of how beautiful an outdoor ceremony there would be and how many locations for photos there were. We got married at Wedding Tree Terrace underneath a beautiful sweeping tree on green grass with views looking over the gardens and out to the valley. Despite the fact that it had poured down rain on our guests for the 30 minutes before I arrived Tim insisted that we were going to go ahead with having the ceremony outdoors in the garden and I could not be more thankful that he did that because the rain and mist made the gardens and the backdrop of our ceremony even more beautiful”

The bride’s brother played her down the aisle to “Lost In You” by Lior. “Lior is an Australian songwriter whose music has been very special to my brother and I growing up, so it was really special that my brother Linden played and sang the song as I walked down the aisle with my Dad.”

The couple chose: Ben Sattler to officiate their ceremony, noting “Tim and I are both Christians and met through youth/church so we wanted our ceremony to be God-focused first and foremost. We had readings from Colossians 3:12-17 and Ephesians 5:25-30 which were read out by our sister-in-law Ellie and Tim’s little brother Levi.

Our only other aim was that we wanted our ceremony to just be relaxed, easy going and fun which we think reflects us as a couple. We also just wanted something intimate with just our closest friends and family so we only had about 70 guests.”

“We love the fact that it rained. Neither Tim or I cared that it rained on our wedding day because it was just part of the day and made it especially memorable to our guests as they huddled under umbrellas in this beautiful garden waiting for me to arrive. It also created some absolutely magical mist that made all of our wedding photos look just that little bit more stunning.”

It was in the family for the flowers, Floristry by Chloe doubling as the groom’s sister, styling up the garden inspired arrangements for the day. “Tim’s sister Chloe is a qualified florist and has done some amazing wedding floristry so it was a no-brainer with who we wanted to do the flowers.
I wanted the flowers to be pretty simple, something that would suit the relaxed garden setting. I didn’t give Chloe much to go with other than a couple of Pinterest photos as I was pretty relaxed and knew she’d know what to do and what I would like, so she pretty much designed and arranged them all herself and they all turned out beautifully.
She’s also really creative and suggested that we have a floral arch on the ground for the ceremony because there was already an amazing backdrop at the Botanic Gardens, and she totally out-did herself on it. It perfectly centred our ceremony in the gardens at Wedding Tree Terrace and so many guests commented on how beautiful it looked.”

Of their photographer, Ainslea shares “Joel from Ava Me Photography is an absolutely incredible photographer with an amazing eye for the little moments, attention to detail, and an obvious passion and genuine care for what he does. Aside from just being a legitimately hilarious and fun guy who made everything so breezy and stress free from the moment we made contact, he took so much consideration into every shot he took and captured so many little, fleeting moments that we didn’t even realise he was there for – he’s honestly a photography ninja.
He completely smashed our already high expectations and anticipation and went above and beyond in what he delivered and I now can’t imagine what it would have been like to not have him there with us on the day – it felt like we had a good friend capturing our day and that made everything feel so much more natural. He was super easy going and patient, constantly made us laugh, kept us relaxed, and most importantly made sure we were having fun the whole time. He’s a superb photographer and just an all-around great guy, definitely someone you want to have hanging out with you while they capture the best day of your life.”

“My favourite part of the wedding planning was that Tim and I planned it completely as a couple and got everything done together. I didn’t feel like I had to organise everything, or that I planned the wedding mostly by myself, and I didn’t want to organise everything because it was Tim’s wedding too. Our contribution was even and we organised the wedding together, so it was 100% a reflection of both of us. I think that’s what made the whole process so stress-free and easy, we didn’t make a fuss about anything or stress if something wasn’t working out, we would sort it out and got it organised together and bounce off each other.”

Guests gathered for a cosy reception at Loxley On Bellbird Hill, tells Ainslea. “We chose Loxley on Bellbird Hill because it was an intimate reception venue with gorgeous views of the Hawkesbury Valley and I had fallen in love with the venue six years ago when I had my year 12 formal there. I even knew back then that one day when I got married I would want my reception at Loxley so when we got engaged we arranged a viewing within a couple of weeks and booked the wedding the same day of our viewing without even looking at any other venues. The service of all the staff was incredible and our wedding coordinator Natalie was so flexible and accommodating, she made everything super easy and stress free and nothing was too hard to be changed to how we wanted it.”

At each place setting sat a bag of homemade (by the bride and her mother) chocolate rocky road.

The newlyweds took to the dance floor to kick off the party and were surprised when many of their guests joined them AInslea explaining “Tim and I have always been big fans of One Republic so we chose the song “Just Won’t Stop” as our first dance song.
We hadn’t expected any of our friends and family to get up and dance after our first dance as many of the weddings we’ve gone to haven’t had much involvement from guests with the dancing, so we were so surprised when all our family and friends joined us after our first dance at the invitation of my step-Dad who was our MC and started slow-dancing. It was so romantic and unexpected that we just got so lost in the moment and it seemed like everyone else was having this beautiful romantic moment too.

For the month leading up to our wedding, I had told my step-dad who was MC’ing our reception that no one would dance and that I wasn’t going to bother having a dance playlist. So he was suddenly caught off guard with the playlist when everyone started slow dancing after the first song, so he quickly started played “Slow Dancing In A Burning Room” by John Mayer at the recommendation of my Bridesmaid Steph, purely because it had “Slow dancing” in the title. Luckily that’s my favourite song!”

“We had arranged for Mitch, one of the Groomsmen, to move Tim’s BMW to right at the top of the stairs at the entrance to Loxley so that we could hop straight in the car and go once we did the farewell tunnel and left the reception. So Mitch moved the car out the front just before everyone got together to form the tunnel.
We ran through our farewell tunnel together and as soon as we got out the other end we headed for the door to leave, not realising that we actually didn’t even have the keys to Tim’s car because Mitch still had them, but before we even made it to the front door Mitch called out to Tim and we both turned around suddenly to see Mitch throwing the car keys over from the end of the tunnel. Our photographer Joel perfectly captured the moment and there’s this great photo of Tim standing half-turned towards the door with his hand outstretched to catch the keys, and me still holding my dress from running, with the car keys captured mid-air flying towards Tim, and both of us looking so happy.”

A big congratulations to you both Ainslea and Tim! Thank you for sharing the beauty of your day with us! Thank you also to Ava Me Photography for sharing today’s gorgeous celebration.

Photographer: Ava Me Photography / Bride's Dress: Sophia Tolli / Bridal Salon: Penrith Bridal Centre / Bridesmaid Dresses: Cooper St / Groom & Groomsmen Attire: Connor / Makeup Artist: Kristi K Makeup & Hair / Hairstylist: Bella Mia Styling / Flowers: Floristry by Chloe / Ceremony Venue: Blue Mountains Botanic Gardens / Ceremony Officiant: Ben Sattler / Ceremony Musicians: Linden Furnell / Reception Venue: Loxley On Bellbird Hill / Wedding Cake: OldSchoolTeaLady
Visit Ms Polka Dot's Directory

Friday Roundup

by | Blog News, Bride


Photo by Marcus Bell of Studio Impressions  via Jane and Tin’s Luxurious Victoria Park Wedding

Hello Dotties! We are ticking off our to-do lists as we get closer and closer to the festive season. The festive season is definitely underway for us, what about you? With week three of The Summer Issue underway and the weather still not knowing which way is up, we’ve been turning to the pretty pictures and inspiration on our screens to remind us of what summer is really like!

How gorgeous are these summer berry ice cubes for your cocktails? Serve them up!

Want your furry friend at your wedding? We’re sharing how!

What to expect from a bridal gown appointment

Our pink grapefruit palomas is just the ticket for summer

Ed Dixon Food Design share how to choose the best venue for your summer wedding

Scotland bound for your Honeymoon? Ms Honeycomb shares her travel guide!

Talking wedding films with the pro behind GMTMT Wedding Films- Brad!

ALL the glamour at the wedding of Jane & Tim!

10 most romantic ways to spend your South African honeymoon



We’re welcoming Myles Formby to the Polka Dot Bride family this week and celebrating with this fabulous wedding competition! One couple will win a $3500 wedding photography package, captured by Myles himself to celebrate their wedding day. Click to enter.

Blushing Confetti has launched a beautiful collection of wedding stationery and they’re giving the first 50 couples to order will receive 25% off their ready-made invitations! Just enter the code BLUSHINGBRIDE25 upon checkout to redeem the special!

We are never one to turn out the chance for a night with great music and our friends over at The Elvis Big Band are kicking off the festive season in style at Spiegeltent with an Elvis Christmas show. We know, we know – it’s not very “Wedding” but can anyone really pass up a night of big band Christmas fun? Book your tickets here.

Feeling the Summer session vibes with this live tune from the crew at Lily Road. A little throwback always gets us in the mood for a sunset and a little groove!

Polka Dot Gift Guide – Flowergirls & Ringbearers

by | Bride, Children, Gift Guide


We’re so thrilled today to launch the Polka Dot Bride gift guides for 2018! We’re rounding up our favourite gift ideas for your favourite people over the next few weeks to inspire your own ideas for the season of giving.

We’re kicking off with one for the littlies – your flower girls and ring bearers. We like to think these ideas aren’t just limited for Christmas but for any time of year to show your favourites how much they mean to you.

With the Polka Dot mothers in on the game, we’ve included plenty of tried and true gift ideas in this guide. From cheap and cheerful, to sentimental gifts that they’ll treasure always. There are gifts that do well for the world and gifts that are purely about smiling and loving big, gift ideas that will have them always treasuring your wedding day, and gift that will encourage them to dream big and plenty that we’re adding to our own Christmas wish list!


Make Me Iconic Melbourne TramBilly Loves Audrey Magical Velvet Crown, Sunnylife Lemon Clutch, Cuddle & Kind Benedict The Bunny, Bonds Personalised Zippy, Arlo & Co Personalised Flower Press, Anthropologie Gnome House & Finger Puppet Set, Macca’s Christmas Crackers Book by Matt Cosgrove, The Woodsfolk Big Grey Elephant, hcwoodcraft Personalised Bowling Game, Sackme Apple Beanbag, Monique Lhuillier “Chloe” Designer Doll

Happy Go Ducky Wooden Propeller Plane, Kate Spade Small World Keepsake Box, Pottery Barn Kids Harry Potter Mirror, Pottery Barn Kids Lacquer Jewellery Box, Hello Australia! by Megan McKean, FaroStore Be Wild Pennant Flag, Seed Heritage Jewel Goggles, Instax Mini 9 CameraSeed Heritage Ice Cream Bag Charm, Jellycat Flo Maflingo, Cotton On Gumball Machine, Anthropologie Fairy Dress Up Kit


Vanessa & Nick’s Romantic Summer Port Douglas Wedding

by | Australia - Queensland, Bride, Inspired Weddings,


Vanessa & Nick

What we love about Summer, is the different takes on a summer wedding. Summer is not all about beaches and tropical blues, in many cases, like today, it’s about honouring the landscape, the space, and just celebrating within it. For Vanessa and Nick, this dream resulting in a beautiful tropical day in stunning Port Douglas – a day where everyone felt on holiday, where palm trees and the shoreline were their backdrops and where Matthew Evans captured every little piece of magic.

It was a chance meeting for these two, who both originated from completely different countries, yet somehow managed to be in the same place at the same time! Vanessa fills us in “We met in Cairns, which is my hometown. Nick who is originally from Auckland had been living there for a couple of years. After being together for a year we both moved to Canada, then Sydney and now we live in Nick’s hometown, Auckland.”

Vanessa chose a long sleeve lace gown designed by Lillian West. She tells “I found dress shopping really hard, I was very undecided about what style I wanted but after trying on over 30 dresses I kept coming back to this one, which was the second dress I tried on. It seemed to somehow tick all my boxes – romantic, a little sexy, structured enough to give shape but also light and flowy, sheer back with button detailing and lace but not too much lace.”

Guests were greeted to the gorgeous ceremony set up with a handmade ice cream cart, built by the bride’s father. “My Dad built a gorgeous little ice-cream cart so delicious ice-creams could be eaten after the ceremony. I was so impressed with how cute the cart was, he did such a good job and the ice-creams went down a treat!”

The couple opted for a romantic, seaside vibe, noting “The style was very romantic and pretty with varying shades of pink mixed with splashes of gold, white and navy. This colour combo contrasted beautifully with both the tropical feel of the ceremony location and the rustic heritage of the old Sugar Wharf for the Reception.”

Vanessa walked down the aisle on the arm of her father to Elle Goulding’s “How Long Will I Love You”.

The couple made sure to include their favourite people in the day, the bride remarking “It was really important to include my 95-year-old Grandma who had flown up from Melbourne, at the wedding. My Grandma who has always been wonderful with words read a poem out at the ceremony called ‘On your Wedding Day’. The first verse of the poem goes like this, ‘Today is a day you will always remember – the greatest in anyone’s life, you will start off the day just two people in love, and end it as husband and wife’.”

Beautiful, tropical Port Douglas was the most beautiful location for these two and their destination wedding. They chose Little Cove at Rex Smeal Park for their ceremony – marrying under palm trees overlooking the sea. “This location gave us a beautiful tropical ocean outlook without having to get all sandy! We chose Port Douglas as our wedding destination because we wanted this wedding not to be just a one-day event. We wanted everyone to be able to have a holiday and spend time together. Nick is from Auckland and I am from Cairns, so it was really the first time both our families got to properly meet each other” tells Vanessa.
“I lived in Port Douglas 10 years ago and worked as an Event Manager for a few of the hotels in the region, so I really wanted a non-hotel venue, I didn’t want to feel like I was back at work! We also wanted venues that really showcased Port Douglas to all our Kiwi guests.”

Of their photographer, the bride raves “The photos speak for themselves, Matthew is fabulous! I have too many favourites to pick just one! The down-side to having such an amazing photographer like Matthew Evans!”

Horses are a love of the bride, and she included them in many parts of the day, sharing “Horses play a big role in my family. My Mum grew up horse riding, I grew up riding and we have had horses on my parent’s property for over 20 years. Ideally, I would have loved to have my childhood horse Tommy included in the wedding, however, unfortunately, he was too old to travel to Port Douglas. Luckily though I found Horses In Port. Derani and her boy Thunder took, my Dad, my Bridesmaids and me to the ceremony in a beautiful carriage and after the ceremony, I was able to ride Thunder bareback along the beach.”

The beautiful waterside venue of Sugar Wharf, hosted the reception. “This venue while it oozes natural charm and character it really comes as a blank space. This allowed us to really stamp our own personal style on every aspect of the venue.”

Vanessa and Nick worked with stylist and floral designer The Vintage Hire Company to execute their vision for the day. “The styling of the ceremony and reception was one of my favourite parts of the day” shares Vanessa.


The groom gifted his new wife with a very special gift, she explains. “Nick surprised me with an engraved horseshoe during his wedding speech. The horseshoe was from my childhood horse, Tommy. Nick knew that I was sad that Tommy was unable to be part of the day, so this was his way of involving him.”

A big congratulations to you both Vanessa and Nick! Thank you for sharing the stories of your day with us. Thank you also to Matthew Evans for sharing today’s beautiful photographs with us!

Photographer: Matthew Evans / Styling: The Vintage Hire Company / Bride's Dress: Lillian West / Ceremony Officiant: Vivian Reid / Hair & Makeup Artist: Ashlee Piper Hair and Makeup / Flowers: The Vintage Hire Company / Transport: Horses In Port / Ceremony Venue: Little Cove at Rex Smeal Park / Ceremony Officiant: Vivian Reid / Reception Venue: Sugar Wharf, Port Douglas / Wedding Cake: Cupcake Cafe / MC: Tony George Entertainment / Band: Tony George Entertainment