It’s a funny thing to acknowledge the birthday of a business. Unlike a regular birthday, it’s not just about a single person. It’s the team, it’s the hundreds of hours they’ve collectively put into something. It’s the audience, the readers who have cried laughed and shown up. It’s the advertisers who are just as much a part of the family as you could imagine and allow it to continue. It’s the milestones, the looking back at the good things, the bad things, the just curl up and cry moments, the office dance because ‘awesome things just happened’ moments and all of those long days.
I have so much to be thankful for these past ten years. I am grateful for the patterned people who work their butts off, the advertisers who have well and truly become the golden light of our site, the readers who have so generously shared their time and stories with us. My family who has adopted this business as their own – especially Mr Polka Dot who is truly the anchor for the bobbing ship I sail.
So on the 13th of January, as we always do, it was time to celebrate turning ten.
If you have read Polka Dot Bride for even a moment of the last ten years, you will know that I will never unwillingly let a milestone go by. So we knew a party was on the agenda and it unfolded in just the way that only a polka dot party can.
For months we planned – we hand sewed cushions and painted the dots, we created menus, we sourced our favourite champagne coupes. We schemed ideas and did pretend setups and thoroughly revelled in planning a celebration for our team. Mr Polka even built us a table! We were so very organised, right down to the playlist.
Harrow & Eton created us two amazing tarts – one of caramelised onion, spinach & stilton cheese & walnuts and another of roast pumpkin, spinach, walnuts & goats curd
Adored these rice paper rolls of mango, avocado with coriander & chicken served with a sweet chilli and lime dipping sauce (accompanied by walnut stuffed dates and dried figs). Saffron pistachios (below) were also a favourite.
We reached out to our amazing caterers and the amazing Shelley of Trufflepig Catering & Events created the most amazing grazing table menu for us (and even upped our cheese quantity, one cheese board is never enough for the patterned people). We commissioned the amazing Gina of Miss Ladybird Cakes who made us the most beautiful array of cakes – ten tiny ones for ten years and one amazing grand one. Even the gorgeous Betsey of Lemontree Calligraphy generously offered us beautifully calligraphed place cards.
Then the day arrived. And despite much praying, talking to the universe and positive thinking – the weather forecast? (After a week of perfect sunshine?) Rain. And wind.
Trufflepig awed us with her menu so much and when she showed up, it was like we had another family member to celebrate with. She loaded her supplies into the house and very soon it started smelling of Christmas (and it felt like it too). There was amazing food everywhere and as she cooked, Shelley would tell us about the decadent delights we were about to enjoy – beautiful charcuterie from local producers, garden plums, delicious tarts. A culinary tour of the state of Victoria would soon be in our bellies.
Mini bruschettas were topped with baby pea, marjoram & parmigiano reggiano cheese seasoned with Murray River salt & drizzled with extra virgin olive oil
We asked Shelley to create for us, two cheese boards (because one is never enough) and she selected amazing international and local cheeses with plenty of fresh fruits and crackers. Shelley also wrapped fresh figs with sage and prosciutto and grilled them in the oven before drizzling them in orange butter (a crowd favourite that one!)
Aside from the smokey 10-spice Indian lamb koftas with raita, our menu also had two salads – roast beetroot, mint, rocket & Meredith goats cheese tossed in a mustard & balsamic, and a warm salad of roasted cauliflower & chickpeas, lemon, feta & mint tossed with quinoa.
Our cakes from Miss Ladybird we’d commissioned to be “polka dotty and gold and just have fun with it!” and were just as I’d dreamed. Ten mini cakes (in flavours of citrus with lemon myrtle, decadent chocolate hazelnut nutella and caramel mud) were covered beautifully in mismatched polka dots of white, pale pink and gold, and our star of the show, the beautiful big vanilla bean cake with blackcurrant filling, was decorated with gold, white and pink dots.
The morning was filled with moments of rain and panicked saving of non-waterproof elements as we’d lay things out and then pick them straight back up when the rain showers passed over head. We turned up the music as Shelley cooked, Ms Rose cut and arranged the blooms, I made the punch, Ms Harlequin bustled about snapping photos and we all worked together to make everything look beautiful. Our table slowly filling with food.
And then, after plenty of photos and Shelley giving us an in-person walk through of the amazing menu – it was time to eat. The rain held off long enough for us to enjoy a little open air lunch, under our umbrella, which we’d hired to block the heat, but sheltered us from the incoming rain, creating a cosy spot. We decided that despite the weather, it was actually quite romantic sitting together eating delicious food with bubbles as the rain fell around us.
Then the wind picked up, and what was a lovely garden party turned into something much more miserable and my heart sank. But what happened next was a great reminder to me (who always touts “rain on your wedding day is fine! don’t worry!”) to put my money where my mouth is. The patterned people ran back and forth, Shelley joining in to cart every tray, every cake, every glass, every plate inside where we finished, slightly wetter, our celebration not the least marred by the weather.
All afternoon the rain poured outside, and inside we sat with our champagne coupes and plates of cake and talked about life. Giggling, pouring more bubbles, singing “Happy Birthday dear Polka Dot”, with our feel good songs blaring loudly in the background. It sometimes became rather poignant, with memories and thoughts shared.
I am not sure why I expected such a special occasion to be a day of perfect sunshine. Because if there is one thing I have learned while running my own business, it’s the moments when things don’t go to plan, that have been the most oddly, wonderful and most rewarding. The journey of Polka Dot Bride, just like that rainy Friday has been filled with moments. Dry moments, sunshiney moments, rainy moments, moments where everything seems like it’s all too much, moments where I am reminded how lucky I am to do what I do every day, moments where we cry together, moments where I am incredibly grateful as I watch the people I work with act with such grace and dignity, moments where we laugh so hard our sides hurt. We toast glasses and we make moments of rain feel like they’re touched with gold.
Happy birthday Polka Dot Bride.
Polka Dot Dream Team...
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