Kat & Reece’s Sparkling Garden Cafe Wedding

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

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Kat & Reece

I love the sparkling garden cafe wedding of Kat and Reece. From the bride’s gold lace wedding gown, the sparkling ceremony, the heartfelt readings, the dancing in the street and the special tea ceremonies, each moment carefully thought about to be the very essence of the newlyweds lives together. Sarah-Kate from Chasing Brightness Photography  captured each moment.

Kat tells the story of how they came to be. “We met at work in 2007 and started off as just friends, he talked me into a date by claiming he also wanted to see the French film biopic on singer Edith Piaf, “La Vie En Rose” and suggested we see it together at the movies as neither could find a friend to go with. I thought he was a tough looking guy, but really sensitive to be interested in French films, but turned out he googled the title as soon as I mentioned it so he could appear genuinely interested and have an excuse to orchestrate a date – so cheeky! It worked though, because 8 years later we still laugh and argue about whether or not that was REALLY our first date seeing as I had no idea it was a date at the time!”

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Wanting a vintage look, the bride chose Michelle Mae  to style her hair and makeup, remarking, “Michelle Mae, my hair and makeup artist also stood out as a vendor who was fully engaged in her task but also in me as a client. She was very flexible and understanding of my needs and made me feel so relaxed on the day. Her work was impeccable and I would recommend her to any friend for any occasion.”

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Rhonda Hemmingway Couture worked with Kat to design a golden lace wedding gown. Kat remembers, “I tried on a few dresses at bridal boutiques but felt that nothing really suited my style and my petite, yet curvy body shape, so decided to have my dress custom made. I knew straight away that Rhonda Hemmingway was the perfect designer to help me, she’d just created an exquisite gown for my best friends’ wedding 2 years prior and was so lovely to work with, she already felt like a personal friend to us. I was strongly inspired by photos found online of two couture gowns from Elie Saab and Dolce & Gabbana and also a Vintage 1950’s Dior gown.

I knew I wanted something with a distinct 50’s flair, slightly non traditional and very ornate. So we decided on scalloped gold lace and intricate beading on a an illusion mesh neckline, button closure at the back and full flouncy tea length skirt. I loved how the design was timeless, exquisite but also something I could move in. I absolutely loved the experience of having my dress made by Rhonda and her team, she was happy to accommodate my requests and so attentive at every step of the process.

The highlight of the experience was definitely choosing my gold lace and beading at wonderful Saigon Fabrics in the CBD, I felt incredibly lucky to be able to purchase fabrics imported from Paris and with trust in Rhonda’s abilities I knew she would make sure every inch was used to its full potential. Rhonda truly weaves some magic and love in all her work, I will never forget the feeling of trying on my dress at the final fitting, the day before our wedding and my entire family was speechless at her creation. I will always feel so lucky and grateful to have had the “fairy godmother” experience with Rhonda.”

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“As I’m Chinese Australian, it was really important to my family for the wedding to also celebrate some Chinese wedding customs. At the beginning of the day, I performed a tea ceremony to thank my family members for their guidance, love and support. Traditionally it is when a bride would leave her family and her village forever to live with her husband’s family, so it’s a very significant moment. I was so lucky to have my maternal grandfather, my last surviving grandparent , present for the wedding and it was an honour to pay respect to my culture with him in this way.”

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Kat and Reece chose Yeo Park Ashfield  for their wedding ceremony, noting, “After deciding to hold our ceremony in a park we looked at many locations, but none of them were suitable, we were feeling a bit defeated when we took a Sunday stroll through our favourite local park – 10 minutes from our home and Reece suggested we just get married right there under our favourite tree. So we did! It was very easy to apply and pay for a permit through Ashfield Council to have the use of a designated area within Yeo Park and we organised deliveries of chairs and tables on the day without any issues. The ceremony location felt intimate and relaxed and really fitted in with our vintage garden party theme.”

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Of her walk down the aisle, Kat remembers, “We chose “At Last” – Etta James. It was a nod to our wedding day being also our 7 year dating anniversary. We truly took our time to get down the aisle!”

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Patty Kikos officiated the ceremony, Kat telling, “We wanted our ceremony to be very sentimental and filled with small details, we also wanted guests to feel really relaxed in their surroundings and enjoy the experience. Our wonderful celebrant Patty Kikos helped us create from beginning to end a ceremony that was unique and celebrated us completely as a couple. She really enjoyed relaying the story of our love with a great sense of theatrical flair! She kept everyone engaged and laughing at the right moments.

We had two readings, “I carry your heart” by E.E Cummings was a poem I first read at age 15, it struck me as a young girl that although I hadn’t experienced real love yet, someday I would find someone to carry my heart. We asked my mother to do this reading, as we felt she had been the one to carry my heart through childhood and was now entrusting it to my husband for the future.

The second reading was “We will not wish you joy” by Brian Zouch and was actually found on Polka Dot Bride, which was a wonderful resource while planning. I loved the informal nature of the reading as a non traditional prayer from a different angle. I felt it delivered the perfect sentiment to be read by our dear friend who really knew us inside out both as individuals and as a couple.”

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Of their photographer, Kat says, “Sarah-Kate from Chasing Brightness Photography was an acquaintance of ours for many years and we’d always followed her work as photographer with great interest. Once we got engaged it seemed a no brainer to hire someone who already knew us and we felt comfortable with. It was one of the best decisions we made as Sarah-Kate captured hundreds of beautiful moments of our day and gave us photos to treasure for a lifetime.

Her work flows so naturally with the rhythm of the day, that it seems effortless but is actually carried out with such precision. Each photo perfectly captures the mood of the moment and the personalities in the shot. We felt so confident and happy with Sarah-Kate’s work that we were no longer worried about choosing not to have video footage due to our budget constraints. Sarah-Kate definitely brings heart and soul into her work it shines through in every photo we have of our wedding.”

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“The best and most relaxed moments of our wedding day happened during the bridal party photos after our ceremony. After some photos in the park, we took our vintage 1956 cherry red Chevrolet for a joyride through the streets of the inner western suburbs and as we pulled up in a small alleyway to get some intimate pics, our friend and MC, Ben spontaneously began singing “It’s Not Unusual” by Tom Jones, which made us laugh instead of feeling self conscious. We started dancing along as our photographer snapped really funny and unique photos. That moment set the tone for the rest of the day into the evening. We danced in the streets as a group and continued dancing for our entrance into the reception. It was great to let the stress melt away and enjoy ourselves fully!”

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Kat and Reece chose The Grounds of Alexandria  to continue their garden wedding style. Kat remarks, “At the start of planning, The Grounds had just begun to allow bookings for weddings so we were lucky enough to be one of the first few couples to book the space in advance while they were undertaking renovations. The rustic decor and lush foliage perfectly set off our theme and we really loved their option of serving food in a family style feast. The staff took great care of us and even organised a Brides’ signature mocktail for me, as I’m a non drinker. We felt The Grounds was the perfect choice of venue for our needs and budget and they absolutely exceeded our expectations on the night.”

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“At the reception we sourced and brought in over 100 pieces in vintage cut glass jars and teacups to use as vases for the table florals, we painted large 3D paper mache table numbers and dipped them in gold glitter, we also hand wrote and decorated each guests’ bonbonierre which also served as a place card, the guest book was made up of vintage postcards we sourced online and our menu was handwritten by me on a large chalkboard in a vintage effect gold frame that we made ourselves and painted.” The decor was accompanied by a LOVE marquee light from EventHaus.

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The Dainty Baker created a three tier wedding cake with gold and red details, the bride telling, “Rhonda at The Dainty Baker did our wedding cake and provided a lovely and fun experience in the design process. Her communication was always prompt and concise and she really catered to our needs creating a cake that was not only beautiful to look at but also so delicious that guests were asking for referrals on the night!”

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“At the reception we did a second tea ceremony in front of our guests , a married couple traditionally pays respect to their elders for their blessing in the marriage. It was a great moment to share this experience with my husband, his family and all our friends who enjoyed seeing a tradition that’s not often part of the average Australian wedding.”

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For the first dance, Kat remembers, “We chose a mashup of two songs. The first song was “Let’s Stay Together” by Al Green, where we could have a bit of a cheesy slow dance. We followed that up dancing the twist while barefoot to “You Never Can Tell” by Chuck Berry – a recreation of the famous scene from Pulp Fiction featuring Uma Thurman and John Travolta. Two characters we dressed as, for Halloween in our first months of dating.”

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Congratulations on your marriage Kat and Reece! Thank you for sharing the stories of your day with us! Thank you also to Sarah-Kate from Chasing Brightness Photography  for sharing today’s wedding!


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  • HayleyLane says:
    February 24, 2016 at 6:45 pm

    A stunning affair from top to toe. That gown is incredible!

  • Boho’s Best Bits: W/C 22nd February - Boho Weddings™ For the Boho Luxe Bride says:
    February 28, 2016 at 7:16 pm

    […] Sparkling Garden Cafe Wedding – From Polka Dot Bride […]

  • Natalie P says:
    March 22, 2016 at 8:37 pm

    Truly an AMAZING dress!

  • Natalie P says:
    May 14, 2016 at 10:33 am

    What a stunning wedding dress!

  • Lucas says:
    February 2, 2017 at 3:16 pm

    Looks like a really fun wedding!

  • Inspired Memories - Reece says:
    June 9, 2017 at 12:01 am

    […] Reece looks back on his sparkling garden cafe wedding and chats to us about his favourite memory, he definitely set all our hearts aflutter as he […]



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