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Chelsea & Brendon

Chelsea and Brendon’s original wedding date was set for August 8, 2020, but due to COVID-19 they made the tough decision to “pull the pin” and postpone it to early next year. They chose to do an engagement shoot (with their wedding photographer, Kitty from Lily & Twine) the moment they decided to postpone their wedding as they really wanted to mark that day in a special way. The original wedding date was special to them because of the numeric sequence and auspicious numbers in Chinese culture. Below, Chelsea and Brendon share their engagement story and how their engagement shoot unfolded.

We became engaged in a simplistic family picnic with our fur baby. After seven years of dating and Chelsea thinking it will never happen. I (Brendon) had thought of a grand plans to propose such as the cliché New Years eve, or hot air balloon flight but realised if I had committed to a such a gesture Chelsea would have suspected something was up. So I had decided to organise a Sunday picnic at one of our local parks. I spent all morning getting things in place (e.g. secret photographer to capture the moment, location etc.) whilst Chelsea was none the wiser in preparing the food for the picnic.

We arrived at the park which was extremely busy with other events and families which hid the secret photographer well. Once I had helped setup the picnic, I told Chelsea that I was going to take Tilly for a walk to ‘calm her down’ where we walked far enough for me to slip on a bandanna asking if ‘mummy would you marry my daddy’, and to Chelsea’s surprise and delight I was down on one knee after she realised what the bandanna had said.

The thing we love about each other is the little quirks that is unique to each of us that only each other notice and understand. For example, Brendon playing and signing the same song on replay over and over.

When the day of our engagement shoot arrived, things were looking a bit concerning as it had been pouring rain the night before. During the morning, the rains was still on and off however we still held out hope and went out to purchase the goodies in readiness for the picnic and in the process grabbed a bite at a local café.

It was about 12pm we finished having lunch and the weather situation had not improved in fact it had got heavier with rain. We had organised with our beautiful photographer to meet up at 3pm as such we were still holding out hope and constantly checking the BOM radar.

As 2pm approached, we got a phone call from our photographer Kitty (of Lily & Twine) to say that things were not looking so good with the rain continuing, grey clouds everywhere which left us with the options of having  postponing, choosing an alternative location with shelter or hoping for a small miracle. As Kitty knew how special the day was to us she wanted to do something and worked frantically to look at other potential locations and had decided there was other possible alternatives but that would be going away from what we envisioned of a natural scenic backdrop. We decided to give it to 2:45pm to make the decision whether we postpone or move it to another location.

In that 45-minute window there were some expletives and small meltdowns as we didn’t want to change from the natural scenic location or not doing something to mark the day. We were starting to feel extremely disappointed as how we alternatively wanted to celebrate the day was now not looking possible as well. We still decided to get ready just in case things turned for the better and literally 15 minutes before having to make the call, blue skies had appeared, and the sunshine was out.

We received a phone call from Kitty and she had joked that a small miracle had happened for us with the blue skies and sunshine out with no rain on the BOM radar in site. Kitty was amazing and a trooper where we all raced to the location to ensure we can do the shoot and capture the spectacular last light for the time of the year.

The engagement shoot took place at Belmont Wetlands and a surprise secluded spot that we found on an unplanned adventure we undertook with our wonderful photographer Kitty.

We chose this location as we are adventurous people and love going for walks to explore new sights and nature. We found this location from a bike ride we went on one weekend.

The adventure was an ‘on the run’ decision we all made as we had underestimated the distance to trek in the original plans of having some shots in the wetlands and then proceeding to the beach dunes for a sunset picnic. We took a detour hoping it would be a shortcut to the beach and went on a bit of an adventure through bush and creeks (it was only small puddle of water from the rain but according to Brendon it was a creek) and through this found this hidden spot where we were able to setup our picnic and capture the gorgeous last light and sunset of the day. Although we didn’t find the beach, the secluded spot was a wonderful alternative where our brilliant photographer Kitty was able to capture some of the stunning shots (even though there were some dingo tracks in the area). Although we didn’t find the water, the adventure was a much more memorable moment as we trekked almost 10 kilometres during the day with a picnic basket, high heels, photography equipment and in pitch blackness by the time we found our way out of the bush and wetlands.

Ms Floral Says: What a special way to honour your ‘should-have-been-wedding-day’! Thank you for sharing your story and we wish you all the best for your wedding next year.

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Ally & Geoff

The Elopement Issue is all about showcasing elopements in all of their beautiful forms, and for Ally & Geoff, this was a celebration that pivoted from its original Autumnal vineyard wedding to a COVID-19 friendly  English garden elopement, in just 36 hours! “We originally chose Yering Station so our wedding and reception could be held at one of our favourite wineries,” admits Ally. “However, due to the beginning COVID restrictions in Melbourne, we decided to forego the big wedding and elope at Cloudehills gardens.” With Lost in Art behind the camera, Ally and Geoff shrunk their guest list to  just their parents and baby boy Charlie and managed to tie the knot, in the most beautiful of ways.

It makes sense that Ally and Geoff chose an English garden style elopement- after all, it was in London that they first met! Ally filling us in. “Geoff and I met in the summer of 2016 London at an outdoor concert for the Aussie Indie singer Courtney Barnett. We spent our first date at an underground cocktail bar that I almost didn’t make it to because the neighbourhood was deserted and it was in an old men’s suit factory. I had the best elderflower cocktail of my life at that bar which I hope to recreate for our reception! I am American and Geoff is from Melbourne so after dating in London we did long distance once I moved backed to the US where he eventually joined me living in Denver. We moved to Melbourne right before our son Charlie was born and got married 8 months later.”

Breakfast in Bali was just the setting Geoff needed to propose. “We got engaged in December 2018 while we were travelling in Asia and living in Bali for a few months. Geoff proposed to me over breakfast on our villa balcony overlooking the jungle and rice paddies in Ubud and we celebrated that night with a traditional Balinese dinner outside by a waterfall.”

To maximise their photo time, on the day, Ally and Geoff met before their ceremony for photographs. Their photographer? Utterly recommended by these two,  says Ally “Lana who owns Lost in Art was a delight to work with. She has a quiet approach that doesn’t feel demanding and she doesn’t make you feel uncomfortable if you are like my partner and I and hate being in photographs. Lana has an excellent eye for observing special romantic moments between two people. Her videographer that day was just as accomodating and patient and the drone was a nice touch. We were definitely more relaxed because we didn’t have a reception or guests but she kept to schedule an was able to work quickly to get a variety of incredible shots.”

Stunning Cloudehill Gardens set the scene for this sweet elopement. Ally says “We originally chose Yering Station so our wedding and reception could be held at one of our favourite wineries, however, due to the beginning COVID restrictions in Melbourne, we decided to forego the big wedding and elope at Cloudehills Gardens. The gardens closed the day before but thanks so the kindness of director Jeremy on Saturday he let us have our wedding there and sneak in for pictures and quick ceremony and champagne picnic! I still love Yering but could not have asked for a more beautiful venue for a small ceremony.”

I know you want to know all the details of Ally’s beautiful gown! It’s a Needle & Thread gown from  BHLDN.  She shares “After trying on many dresses post-engagement at the American brand Anthropologie’s wedding division Bhldn’s flagship store in Philadelphia I decided on a non-traditional dress with a splash of colour and a floral print. I actually found the perfect combination from the London brand Needle and Thread. The Prarie Gown is from their 2019 Spring line and comes in both a traditional long dress and a shorter version. I wanted purple shoes for some reason and I found some kitten heels with glam beads from Badgley Mischka. The shoes are probably the most traditional element to my look (satin wedding shoes I will never wear again but worth it.”

For couples yet to tie the knot, Ally advises “Don’t get too caught up in the stress of planning that you don’t enjoy your engagement.

Think more about why you are getting married and remember you can always throw amazing anniversary parties even after your wedding.

For me, I spent a lot of time planning the details of a wedding I never had. The daydreaming and journaling about the vision of my wedding day was actually super creative and enjoyable and I was able to translate that vision into the real thing. It’s also ok to cut costs and still have a beautiful day! I suggest doing a few things yourself DIY style to make it unique.

My advice is also to look around for up and coming local vendors you can support who get your style but might charge less than the big names. I feel for all you brides with cancelled big days in this COVID season but take it as an opportunity to listen to re-assess and maybe listen your own voice a bit more and not worry about what other people think of your day!”

“I actually loved planning how the elements would interact and creating a vision of the day was super fun! My original theme was an Autumn boho-chic vineyard wedding with re-purposed outdoor rugs and a bunch of vintage candle finds along with rustic flowers but it turned into a sunny autumn afternoon garden wedding with a vintage-inspired floral dress and a champagne picnic. Both lovely ideas!”

Ally and Geoff did not plan to DIY much for their wedding, but the short notice meant their plans were completely up in the air, says Ally. “I always liked the idea of a DIY wedding but with changing our plans short notice (meaning a matter of 36 hours) I definitely was forced to go this route and it turned out fine. I had planned for a spa day at Natio Spa at Balgownie Estate with make-up and hair done by friends but I ended up getting a blow-wave the night before from my stylist Anna at Major Chase Salon in Windsor and I ended up doing my hair and make-up myself because we were restricted to five people at our wedding. I used Mac makeup products and modelled my style after a 90s inspired wine colour lips and pale cheeks with natural eyes.”

Wild in Love creates the beautiful garden-style arrangement s for the day “I originally envisioned buying bundles and doing the flowers DIY along with flower crowns for myself and the flower girls and I found an amazing florist in Melbourne Sarah Pascoe whose company Wild in Love offers a handful of options to combine DIY bouquets with professional floral arrangements. Sarah created my flower crown and bouquet inspired by Autumn colours (burgundy, purple) and Native Australian green foliage such as Eucalyptus leaves.”

Geoff dressed in MJ Bale. “My husband Geoff works in finance and I work in the arts as an educator and curator.” explains Ally. “We decided to save money and buy him a new blue suit from M.J. Bale that he could wear to the wedding and after our big day for both business and dinners out. We decided to make it more wedding-worthy by adding a fun eggplant polka dot skinny tie and pocket square from the OTAA.”

Of her walk down the aisle, Ally remembers “I walked down the aisle myself and my parents walked ahead of me. I chose the song “Cherries Underground” by the Icelandic singer Junius Meyvant which is also featured in our highlight video by Lost in Art.”

Ally added special heirloom touches to her look for the day. “My paternal grandmother passed several years before I met Geoff but I carried one of her broaches and attached it to my bag. I also wore diamond earrings that Geoff’s grandmother gifted to me for the wedding. I also splurged on a diamond Swarovski beaded headband I will wear to the reception and pass down through our family.”

Ally and Geoff chose Kitty of My Wedding Celebrant to officiate their day, telling “I always wanted the kind of ceremony where I could kick my shoes off and float around in the grass a bit like you are attending an elegant picnic where you had a bit too much champagne. I wanted a relaxed feeling for our ceremony that felt intimate and authentic and we definitely had that with vows we wrote ourselves and readings by my favourite poet Rainer Maria Rilke in which my son’s middle name (Charles Rainer) comes from. I debated playing the guitar because I am a songwriter and musician but decided my hands may have been a bit shakey and I’d rather just have a moment of silent reflection before the ceremony.”

The newlyweds celebrated with their guests in the garden, complete with grazing platters from

The Deli Platter Olinda. The bride telling  “I was absolutely delighted by the beautiful picnic hampers we had pre-ordered from The Deli Platter cafe in Olinda. They were so sweet knowing that we had an impromptu elopement style wedding and even included linen napkins and a bouquet of flowers with cheeses, meats and homemade scones and pies. We had a bottle of Veuve cliquet and enjoyed our picnic post-ceremony with our family in the gardens while our son crawled on the grass.”

Despite not being able to stick to their original plan, Ally and Geoff were still able to honour what as most important to them. “In our original plan, good music and good wine were most important to us! Although our wedding didn’t go as originally planned we had both of those elements and definitely enjoyed some lovely bottles at our suite that night with our family staying over at Balgownie Estate. Balgownie has excellent wine you can only buy on-site and we also ordered a case from Innocent Bystander in Healesville.”

One very special guest included the couple’s son Charlie, says Ally “We always wanted our son to be a big part of the photos and wedding so he was the only one in our “wedding party” although we were planning on having friends read poems and give speeches in our original plan for a wedding at Yering station pre-COVID. Charlie wore a suit I ordered from Baby Nautica with a pink checkered collared top and navy blue suit pants, vest and bow tie to match his dad’s suit.”

And of the first dance? Ally shares “We are still waiting on this one as we hope to have a casual reception on our first anniversary although we have had several dances in our living room! Our first dance song will be a version of Henri Mancini’s “Moon River” sung by Frank Ocean.”

Not only did Lost in Art capture the stills fo the day, but Lana also made this beautiful film!

A big congratulations to you both Ally and Geoff! Thank you so much for sharing your special day with us. Thank you also to Lost in Art for sharing today’s beautiful photography and film!

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!

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The Elopement Issue is all about celebrating that secret ceremony, that private moment. But when all is said and done, the vows are exchanged, the rings are donned, it’s time to tell the world that you’ve tied the knot!

Today, in the spirit of our love for snail mail, we’ve got the most beautiful elopement announcements that sum up that big, secret step you took. Want to host a big celebratory party? Couple these with a reception invitation, so your guests can join in on your merriment.

Stationery by Lindqvist Ink Photo by Fennel & Fern via Botanical Winter Elopement Inspiration

Elopement announcement by  Love Carli Photo by Peppermint Photography via Sally Rose White Label “Wilda” Jewellery Collection

Stationery by Yesterday Creative from the wedding of Neisha & James

“Josephine” Elopement Announcement by

Stationery by Small Brown Writes Photo by Lady & The Hound Photography  via Dramatic Mountaintop Elopement Inspiration

Stationery by Studio B Couture Photo by The Fox and The Bear Wedding Photography via Offbeat & Moody Elopement Inspiration

Modern Offset Wedding Announcement from Minted

Stationery by Miss Envylope Photo by Oy Photography via  Bohemian Beach Wedding Ideas

“Adella” Elopement Annoucement by

“Sage” Elopement Card by Smitten With Love