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Hannah & Chris

Today’s wedding is super special in so many ways, one being that Hannah (aka Ms Zebra) is a member of the Polka Dot Bride team! Hannah married Chris in a beautiful rooftop ceremony in the heart of Melbourne, six weeks after deciding they would elope and with their baby Archie in tow. There to capture the vows and intimate celebration that followed was photographer Ali Bailey and videographer Lochlan Tangas from Tango Films. Below, Hannah shares how she and Chris met, as well as how they pulled together a stylish and sophisticated celebration in such a short timeframe.

Chris and I met via Tinder five years ago! There was a feature at the time when someone could “superlike” you… Chris “superliked” me, which, I tease him of often and once we connected, it turned out we had many crossovers and were unsure how we hadn’t already met! One of my best friends actually worked at a bar with him for years and was dating one of his good mates. Strange how these things work out! I suppose the rest as they say, is history.

Fast forward to our wedding and the style and theme was very classic, intimate and special – oh and a surprise! It was the ultimate throw together, COVID wedding. We only decided about six weeks in advance we were going to do it. Luckily, the numbers allowed to attend had increased from 5 to 20, so we were able to share it with our gorgeous family and some close friends. We were just as prepared to have the day with only Lara Williams (our celebrant), photographer and videographer – and our little son, Archie.

Although, it was only part one! We can’t wait to be able to celebrate with a massive party and all of our friends. It was so hard capping the guests but I know all of our friends felt it was incredibly special to be there.

Getting ready with Chris and our baby Archie was so much fun.

How I chose my dress is a funny story! Having a limited amount of time and the fact that I was about two months post giving birth and we’d just been in total lockdown, this certainly wasn’t your average bridal dress selection process!

Initially when we were planning and only Chris, myself and Archie were going to be there, I had a vision of a simple white skirt, white top and killer Manolo Blahnik heels as my ultimate attire. However, as the day progressed and snowballed (like most weddings!) my little outfit became a little underdone.
My sister-in-law took me by the hand and we trudged around Chadstone trying to find a special white dress, in stock, that fit and was complementary to my post baby figure! To no avail, we left. She even pulled some amazing strings to fit me in with the amazing Capellazzo Couture but my brain just couldn’t compute pulling that together so quickly! I don’t think I’d ever thought of myself or seen myself in a traditional wedding gown and nothing about this wedding was traditional!

Instead, a dress I’d seen online, I decided I would try on. It was from Bec & Bridge, champagne in colour and fit like a glove. I suppose it was meant to be. I had it slightly altered in a few places but it was mainly ready to go.
My shoes were found online as well at Eternal Bridal, delivered in the last days leading up to the wedding and the colour matched perfectly!

Chris wore a tuxedo that he’d had made by Angela Nicolades, when he was a groomsman for one of his best mates. He had always imagined wearing a tuxedo to get married and had a special jacket made for the day. Having worked with Angela on a few different pieces now has always been a great experience. She’s so good at what she does, knows the fit and style that will suit and in my opinion, he looked pretty dapper in his get up on the day!

When it came to the flowers, I actually approached a few bigger companies about doing a small range for our day. They laughed at me, told me no and that I wasn’t spending enough to make it worthy of their time. To be honest, I was a bit deflated about the whole thing.

However, a girl I went to school with in the year below has a business – Rosa Rose Flor – and after contacting her she was more than happy to help. I was so grateful and not to mention, she’s incredibly talented!

I sent through a Pinterest concept board and left the rest with her. She’s the professional, so I had trust in her decisions! She came back with a few different options and we were beyond stoked with the result. Chris was a little hesitant when we were describing the flower stands at the altar but they definitely anchored where we said ‘I do’ and added to the aesthetic of the day. He’s since admitted he’s glad I insisted on doing it!

The wedding was on June 20, 2020 at the Siglo rooftop in Melbourne. The reception was held around the corner at Recoleta. Both spaces are managed by Spring St Events Group.

We were so lucky (in many senses of the word) that during this 2020 COVID scenario, most venues were pretty free! We chose a date with Lara first, booked in Ali and Lochlan and only then considered where we actually wanted to say ‘I do’.

I had always joked about getting married at Siglo. My mother-in- law is catholic and even though we were never getting married in a church, at least she could see St Patrick’s Cathedral!

However, we toyed with a spot in Flinders, an Air BnB and then Chris found Recoleta. When we went to visit the space, we enquired about the Siglo rooftop and Jess took us through both venues. Then we went away, thought about it and decided it would work well to marry there, then move onto the reception at Recoleta.

It was a wonderful and cohesive day, that flowed well and was perfect for guests to mill post ceremony before only walking the short distance to the reception dinner. Everyone was super helpful and we had a great time!

I walked down the aisle to ‘Sweetest Thing’ by Allman Brown.

The ceremony was relatively short and sweet. It was made up of lovely words from Lara, then Chris and myself wrote our own vows. I found it a bit daunting (even in front of only a few close friends) to be the centre of attention, but when standing up there together, I could only see Chris and everything else faded away! It was super special.

Side note: we were also super lucky that the protest that had been held at parliament that morning had dissipated and we were cheered by police as I arrived with my dad!

All our vendors were fantastic. Ali and Lochy, Lara, Rosie and Elle and of course, Jess of Spring Street Events – we couldn’t have done it without them all and it all came together so beautifully! We feel very lucky to have had such an amazing team. Bring on part two post COVID!

A favourite detail of the day was the flowers. They made such a beautiful impact – and I loved my bouquet. They complemented everything so perfectly!

Our photographer, Ali Bailey, was AMAZING! She’s such a gorgeous person and made both of us feel so comfortable and happy. She worked with us (and a baby) and made the day feel effortless. So grateful for all her hard work and of course, we love and adore the images!

The shots in the cactus garden are by far my favourite image. Chris whispered to me at the time, “What the heck are we doing in the garden?” and I replied, “Trust Ali, it will be amazing.” And it was! I loved the photography on the day because each venue and spot Ali chose looked like we could’ve been anywhere in the world. It showcases just how amazing Melbourne is!

We entered the upstairs venue for dinner to ‘Always Be My Baby’ by Anderson East.

It was all the most fun and sensational blur. Our friends laugh with us that it was the last hurrah before Melbourne went into complete lockdown for 2020!

The entire day was quite special in the end! It really went from just Chris, myself and Archie eloping (with COVID restrictions) to being able to include friends and family. The day was filled with so much love and being so intimate, I believe, created such a special atmosphere. It was truly about us getting married and making that commitment to each other to become a family without much of the other noise associated with wedding days!

I think COVID has really changed the way people see weddings, and how they will do weddings in the future. For us, we were really able to focus on the marriage part of the day and saying ‘I do’ to the person you love more than anyone in this world. If you can keep that at the forefront of your day, everything will fall into place, and everything else doesn’t really matter.

Hannah and Chris’ elopement teaser video by Tango Films

Ms Floral Says: Congratulations Hannah and Chris on such a picture perfect and special elopement. How lucky you were with the timing! Everyone here at Polka Dot Bride sends their love to your little family and we thank you for allowing us to share your story and beautiful day. Poring over every detail of it has been such a treat!

Credits

This post features the following wedding vendors. If you've been featured below, we'd love to get to know you. Click here to join Polka Dot Bride.

  • Bride's Jewellery
  • Family heirlooms
  • Groom's Attire
  • Angela Nicolades
  • Groom's Shoes
  • Angela Nicolades
Polka Dot Bride Shop

Bianca & Josh

“There is nothing more special than the story of us a fortnight prior thinking it could be years until we could afford to get married, to then being there in real life, having the dream wedding we never dreamed of until it happened.”

This is a wedding, that was planned in two weeks. That focussed on what was important – a love story, and a loving community, and did away with everything that didn’t matter. Just what The Elopement Issue needs!

And the setup for this day? Slightly different from the weddings we normally share. What was planned as an inspiration shoot, soon turned into an actual wedding – with the tightest of turnarounds!

Micro Weddings Central Coast planned this wedding in its entirety, Bianca and Josh left to be surprised by every detail, after they’d agreed to use the occasion to tie the knot. Euphoria Films was there to capture every beautifully intimate moment! “The way we got married is us to a T.,” remarks Bianca. “Our cousin from The Wandering Waterhole came to us two weeks before the wedding and asked us if we wanted to get hitched and sure enough we just said yes. The whole thing was organised for us and we just rocked up and bam we are now husband and wife. That’s what is special about it.”

As for how these two met? “Through mutual friends because Josh was too chicken to speak to me himself” laughs Bianca. Josh adding “After a few beers I got the courage to drop the flame emoji on one of Bianca’s insta photos and the rest is history.”

The proposal, for Bianca, was at a most unexpected time, she shares the story. “Josh made me go and watch him do a CrossFit contest and said that we’d go out for dinner after. Once he’d finished of course the boys open up some beers and they all decided we’d go to the pub for dinner. He contributed to down some beers and then we went home. But as we got home he said let’s get ice cream and eat it on the waterfront (which for him, is super weird). As we were chatting away about life he turned around and said to me “My favourite part of every day is coming home to you, how about we make it forever?”.

“This started as a styled shoot, which then led to holding an actual micro wedding” shares the bride. “Everything was done for us. The only thing we knew was where the wedding was being held and of course, our celebrant. The rest was a complete surprise.”

The bride’s favourite wedding day memory? “Watching our daughter & her little cousins walk down the aisle as our flowers girls and page boys.”

Bianca walked down the aisle with her dad to Vance Joy’s “I’m With You”. “Our celebrant watched our Instagram story the night before and saw Josh and our daughter dancing to it and thought it was perfect.”

“This was kept very short and simple, just how we wanted it,” tells Bianca of their official part of the day officiated by Love Notes Ceremonies.

 

The day was hosted at Central Coast venue The Ridge Estate. 

Once the newlyweds were married, they and their sixteen guests enjoyed an outdoor cocktail hour catered by The Wandering Waterhole and Pintxos & Paella, complete with lawn games!

Laughs Bianca “Josh stated that this was the dream wedding that we never dreamed of until it happened.”

The blooms? Says Bianca “Micro Weddings Central Coast sourced and created these for me. And they beautiful.
Most of the flowers were sourced from the flower farm which is at The Ridge Estate.”

For her wedding gown, Bianca borrowed a lace, Grace Loves Lace gown from a friend.

Bianca advises “Remember that the day is about you and your partner. No one else! Do what you want to do and enjoy your special day!”

“We asked Will from Euphoria for one photo to put on the wall and I could make a whole wall as they all came back amazing!” says Bianca. “He didn’t make it awkward, told us what to do and gave us an album to remember!”

After dark, guests gathered back inside under sparkling chandeliers, and a table set with blush pink linens for dinner. The entire look styled by Everlong Events.

Not only did Vance Joy’s “I’m With You” play as the bride walked down the aisle, but it also played for the dance floor debut of the newly married couple. “A song we both love together” admits the bride.

A big congratulations Bianca and Josh! Thank you for allowing us to share your story. Thank you also to Euphoria Films and  Everlong Events for sharing today’s celebration with us!

 

Polka Dot Dream Team...

The below wedding vendors made this magic happen and are an approved part of the Polka Dot Directory. Visit their portfolios to learn more and enquire about their services!

Credits

This post features the following wedding vendors. If you've been featured below, we'd love to get to know you. Click here to join Polka Dot Bride.

Jess & Joseph

Ever dreamt of a beachside wedding under palm trees and a starlit night sky? That is exactly the dream today’s newlyweds, Jess and Jopseh brought to life. “We are both really laid back kinda people. Our wedding really reflected that” explains Jess. “We didn’t really have a “theme” as such; we love being outdoors and near water so it was a no brainier that we chose the beach and tied it with big beautiful timber tables and lots of green and tropical foliage.”

And with the duo inviting photographer The Raw Photographer to capture their day as it unfolded, this is a day that commands you to kick off your shoes and grab a cocktail, a party that embraces a beautiful love story and the warm and beauty of seaside Cairns,

One piece of advice we so need to pass on from Jess? The way these two chose to plan their day. “In the planning process, I wrote down three dot points – close to the water – chilled vibes – lots of green foliage and timber for decor that was the extent of our planning, haha and it all came together perfectly. We only had about 40 guests and I think that number included us and our wedding party. It was just a perfect small wedding with our closest friends and family.”

After meeting on a night out at a pub in Brisbane, Jess and Joseph’s story culminated in a water top proposal right over the reef. Jess fills us in. “It’s a cute one; Joseph is not a huge romantic! Sorry babe when you read this.

It was about two months after the birth of our second daughter. He had said to me he had organised a day out on the reef for us to go out on one of the local dive boats and organised my mum to watch the girls for the day. I was so excited, I absolutely love being out on the reef (Joseph not so much out in the open water where all the animals can get him) so it was a pretty big deal he had planned this I thought it was just a nice day out to spend some quality time together as we had just had a new baby, we snorkelled and just hung out, it was so nice. Then he was like, let’s go out the front of the boat (me being my stubborn self kept saying no I just want to go back in the water) he was like no I really want to go check out the front of the boat so we made our way out to the front of the boat and sat on some seating out there.

He started his little speech, I can’t remember exactly what he was saying but he started welling up. Then he tried going down on one knee (he had just busted his knee at football literally like a week before, so he was having trouble getting down haha) I realised what he was trying to do and was like OMG it’s ok just sit there and I moved to stand in front of him, he continued with his speech then asked the big question.”

Jess chose a lace Grace Loves Lace gown, sharing “I was flicking through Facebook one night before we were even engaged and a Grace Loves Lace dress ad popped up and I instantly fell in love. After we got engaged I remember one of my bridesmaids asked: “When are we going to book an appointment to go try on dresses?” I said we weren’t, I was going to fly to the Gold Coast and visit the Grace Loves Lace store and buy my dress. I flew down with my mum, eldest daughter and my maid of honour came up from Brisbane. I tried “Edie” and knew it was the one.”

 

“We searched for ages for a jacket for Joseph” tells Jess of the groom’s choice of attire. “He is very picky and particular in what he wears so it had to be perfect!
We had no luck in Cairns and flew to Melbourne for his birthday last year. While celebrating his birthday weekend, he found the perfect jacket in a little suit store. He matched his look with beige pants and a white shirt as my dress had a beige underlay.”

Ellis Beach Yacht Club, right by the sea, played host to both the ceremony and reception tells the bride. “We had our ceremony on one side of the property under a big beautiful tree overlooking the beach and our reception was just beside it. It was convenient having it all in one spot!”

Jess walked down the aisle with her dad to Beyonce’s rendition of “Ava Maria”.

Of the ceremony officiated by Anna Soltwedel, Jess tells “We just wanted everything super chilled; it was our nearest and dearest all under a beautiful big gum tree looking out over the ocean. Our celebrant shared funny little stories along the way from how we met. There were lots of laughs.”

Let’s talk tropical blooms! jess and Joseph worked with Florist Gardens on floral arrangements filled with tropical greenery. Jess noting “I walked into the florist with really no idea what I wanted flower wise. I did wish for lots of green foliage, ferns and palms for the table centres and arbour. However, I still had no idea for a bouquet. Kailee our florist was an absolute champ, she made me the most beautiful bouquet of tropical foliage, pampas grass and native flowers. It was honestly the best!”

 

There was much to rave about for Jess and Joseph when it came to their choice of a photographer “Where do I start? Jason is the best!” remarks the bride. “I was following his page on Instagram before he even started doing wedding photography. Then I started to notice he was documenting weddings, I said to Joseph “This guy is going to be our photographer!”. Jason is so popular, I knew he would be hard to book. Our original wedding date was actually during the week, and we worked our whole wedding date around his availability. Originally we booked a mid-week wedding… then Jason emailed me saying he had a Saturday open up! We took the opportunity and changed our wedding date.”

The outdoor reception was packed with tropical details, many of which were styled by the bride’s friend Amy, Jess explaining “My awesome friend Amy (she’s so talented) did so much for our wedding! She made stools and a day bed for people to sit on in a little chill-out area. We organised timber yard games for the kids to keep them busy and occupied. Made a beautiful photo board with pictures of Joseph and me with our families as kids. Thinking about it, she made so much or organised so much for our wedding.”

There was one very special guest present, notes Jess. “The most special thing on our day was that Joseph’s dad was with us. Joseph’s parents live in Samoa and Joseph hasn’t seen them since he was 16 years old. His brother and sisters organised to get his dad over here for our wedding.”

For the first dance, Jess and Joseph chose “Differences” by Ginuwine.

The biggest fo congratulations to you both Jess and Joseph! Thank you for sharing your story with us. Thanks also to The Raw Photographer for sharing today’s celebration with us.

Polka Dot Dream Team...

The below wedding vendors made this magic happen and are an approved part of the Polka Dot Directory. Visit their portfolios to learn more and enquire about their services!

Credits

This post features the following wedding vendors. If you've been featured below, we'd love to get to know you. Click here to join Polka Dot Bride.

  • Makeup Artist
  • Caitii Maiden
  • Hairstylist
  • Thelma Iboai
  • Wedding Cake
  • Jade Harris