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Erin & Dejan

A wedding full of Polish, Russian and Serbian traditions, babushka dolls, vodka and dancing, set against the backdrop of beautiful, rainy Melbourne? A must-see. Erin and Dejan, who married in November last year at Melbourne Town Hall, had their hearts set on an elegant, city wedding that would be a lot of fun for their guests. The pair nailed their brief, with a picture perfect ceremony, iconic Melbourne portraits and a joyful reception with lots of celebrating at Fenix Events. The couple’s special day was captured by photographer Courtney Laura. Below, Erin tells us how her special day unfolded.

Dejan proposed to me on a trip to Europe in 2018. We were in Slovenia visiting his parents. Dejan had gone out the day before to buy the ring with his dad. He convinced me to climb to the top of the castle in Ljubljana and that’s where he proposed!

For my dress, I knew I wanted something very simple and timeless. I’m not a huge fan of lace on myself so that immediately eliminated a lot of dresses! In the end, I only went to two bridal shops, tried on about eight dresses and picked the one I liked the most! It was by Mikaella Bridal. Done and dusted in one day!

I went outside the box for my shoes. I knew that I wanted a red pair and ended up with a red/multi coloured pair that were perfect!

For my flowers, I knew that I wanted natives. I love waratahs so that was my feature flower and colour. My bouquet was made up of waratahs, small straw flowers, billy buttons, proteas, leukadendrons, flannel flowers, gum leaves and gum nuts. It was so heavy!

The groom wore a blue Bell & Barnett suit as he didn’t want black. We went with plain white shirts and ties with deep red flowers to match the bouquets.

Our ceremony was at Melbourne Town Hall. Dejan and I love the city we live in so we knew we wanted a city wedding. We looked at lots of different venues but in the end we chose Melbourne Town Hall for the simplicity of the balcony.

My dad walked me down the aisle to ‘Only You’ by Joshua Radin. It was a cover of the Yazoo original.

For my wedding ring, my mum gave me my nana’s engagement and wedding rings and I had them redesigned into one ring.

We wanted our ceremony to be very simple and not too long! We asked One of Dejan’s groomsmen to do a short reading for us called ‘A Lovely Love Story’ by Edward Monkton. We chose it because it made us laugh.

We originally thought about writing our own vows but in the end we decided on the traditional ones and were glad that we did.

Our celebrant was Meriki Comito and she was perfect! Easy to work with and helped us create our perfect ceremony.

During our ceremony we thought we would have a bit of fun. Once we were pronounced husband and wife, we had a shot of vodka as a nod to my Polish and Russian side of the family.

Our photographer was Courtney Laura. We had seen her work at a wedding fair that we went to at the last minute. She came and met us for lunch and showed us some of her work and we made our decision! She made us feel so comfortable when we were doing our portraits and got lots of natural photos. We knew we wanted urban/city shots and they are fantastic!
Our reception was at Fenix Events in Richmond. We chose Fenix for the beautiful scenery along The Yarra. The staff at Fenix were also extremely helpful and answered all our questions, and were more than willing to accommodate the little extra things we wanted as part of our reception.
We had two babushka dolls as our wedding cake topper because I love them and they represent my paternal nana. Our cake was by Miss Ladybird Cakes.
Our table runner was made up of the same flowers as my bouquet, and our centre pieces were random mixes of the flowers to sit on the base of the candles. The natives fit in perfectly with view of the gum trees on the banks of The Yarra. The beauty of natives is that they last a really long time. I had my bouquet in a vase at home for weeks afterwards and we still have two of the centrepieces on our bedside tables!
Dejan’s family are Serbian so we had a few traditions thrown in as well. He had his cousin hand around the buklija, a big flask filled with rakija to all the guests throughout the reception. We also had periods of the evening where we danced to kolo, a traditional circle dance where all the guests join hands to dance.

We also had lots of vodka and rakija flowing throughout the reception which I’m sure helped all of the guests get up and dance!

Ms Floral Says: Congratulations Erin and Dejan on a tradition-filled and fun-filled wedding! What an incredible celebration you pulled off in your gorgeous city of Melbourne. So happy you embraced the rain to get those stunning portraits. Wishing you all the very best in your married life together.

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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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.

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Emily & Matt

It is with great love that we share the country wedding of Emily and Matt today. A day that was all about country charm – wide open plains, a ceremony under the beautiful Australian sky and a reception within the walls of a classic corrugated iron shed. It celebrates everything Australian, and everything Emily and Matt – what a combination! “We wanted our day to be very relaxed,” explains our bride Emily. “A lot of the typical wedding traditions did not appeal to us. The style and theme was rustic and simple, lots of greenery and earthy colours.”

Oh, and you’ll be a big fan of Emily & Matt’s relaxed, mismatched bridesmaid style (hello The Bridesmaid Issue!) especially when you see their utter joy against the golden Queensland sunset!

It was a mutual love of cricket that led these together, the pair meeting as teenage cricket players! Emily sharing “We met playing cricket when we were about 13 or 14. Matt is from Sydney and was in the NSW junior boys teams, I was from Brisbane and in the QLD junior girls teams. We used to talk for months leading up to the National tournament on MSN, spend time in between games talking at nationals and then would talk for months after until it would fizzle off and start up again the next year. I (Emily) just thought he was the greatest thing ever, even at the age of 14. When we were about 24, Matt came up to visit and a few weeks later moved up to Brisbane.”

And these two? They were set for a beachside proposal, along with dog Sammy. “We had planned to take our Golden Retriever Sammy to Northshore Dog beach at Mudjimba like we usually did on the weekend. It was probably about 4:00 pm, and I remember Matt stalling and taking his time getting ready (I now realize this is because he wanted it done at sunset).

We did our usual loop, along the beach and around the river where you start to walk through the trees but can still see the water. I was walking in front, blabbering away about something pointless and looked up ahead and saw a huge picnic set up, with white pillows, blankets, champagne, cheese, fruit etc. I just remember saying “oh that’s so nice, look what someone has done” (not at all considering it was for me) Matt just said Em and I turned around and he was on one knee. He said he always pictured saying some long speech but was so nervous and teary he just said “I love you so much, will you marry me?”

For Emily. her bridesmaids enveloped her in love, and she loved every minute. She shares “I had four girls in my bridal party. Julia (MOH) is my cousin, she is two months younger than me so we grew up more like sisters. Anneka, Therese and Madi, three of my very close friends from high school.

There were so many times throughout the whole process of the wedding, little things my bridesmaids did where I sat back and thought, I have picked the most perfect combination of girls for my bridal party. They were honestly faultless. The hen’s party and the week leading up to the wedding, including the night before the wedding, was perfect and I can honestly say it was because of them. They could tell if I was feeling overwhelmed or nervous and they knew how to make me laugh. I am close with all of them but never get the chance to spend time with all of them together. Besides obviously marrying my best friend, this was one of my favourite parts of the whole wedding.”

The bride chose an off the shoulder lace gown by Grace Loves Lace. “For me, it was an easy choice. ” she notes, “When looking for dresses, I didn’t see many I liked. I’m not super girly and as weird as it sounds, I didn’t want anything too ‘weddingy’. Nothing over the top, I wanted to be comfortable and didn’t want to it to cost an arm and a leg. One of the few sites I looked at where I loved several of the designs was Grace Loves Lace. Their dresses are so nice, the nicest I had seen and had exactly what I was looking for.

I booked in at the Gold Coast shop to try a few on, with my mum and 3 of my bridesmaids came (one was overseas). I was dreading it a little bit, I don’t love being the centre of attention and wasn’t looking forward to everyone telling me which one they liked or didn’t like. But, it was amazing. The staff member who was with us for the day was so relaxed and was great at reading the room and mirroring my body language which was exactly what I needed. I had about five dresses I wanted to try on but had my mind set on two. After trying both several times, I was drawn more towards the “Florence” gown. It was flowy and very comfortable with light lace material and looked beachy and relaxed. My experience wasn’t at all what I thought it would be like and I actually really enjoyed it.”

The country charm of Yabbaloumba Retreat, and its isolation, was exactly what Emily and Matt wanted for their day. “Yabbaloumba Retreat was the first place we looked at and were sold instantly. It’s a farm about the back of Kenilworth on the Sunshine Coast and had everything we were looking for. A rustic beautiful barn for the reception, accommodation on site and an included camping package for guests which we loved as we hoped our wedding would be like one big party. The retreat has these amazing cabins where the bridesmaids stayed the Friday and night and got ready on the Saturday and a ceremony location right next to the reception shed. The staff from L&Lco Events were relaxed and easy-going which suited us perfectly and made us like the venue even more.

We questioned whether we can choose the very first venue we looked at, so booked into to look at another one in Brisbane the week later. Upon arriving we knew it wasn’t for us which made us lock in Yabbaloumba Retreat straight away. There is also no phone reception which we loved, it meant our guests would focus on talking to others and having fun which is exactly what happened. Most of our guests stayed on site too, either camped or stayed in the provided rooms which we were so happy about.”

Emily chose Vance Joy’s “I’m With You” to play as she walked down the aisle with her father.

Emily and Matt were married by celebrant Wendy Andrews, who also happened to be the bride’s aunt! Emily sharing  “It was very relaxed and quite quick which is exactly how we wanted it to be. My Aunt Wendy was our celebrant which made it feel so close and special. It was her first time running a ceremony and she was absolutely perfect. There were some sitting but most people were standing and it was under a wooden arbour in front of a lake. It was actually so so nice.

The ceremony was the part I was most nervous about and I actually really didn’t enjoy walking down the aisle. Having that many people staring at me is my worst nightmare, so much I actually forgot to look at Matt while I was walking down haha, I think I was looking at the floor!”

 

Emily shares “I had my moments with the wedding planning, moments of stress and feeling super overwhelmed but only briefly. Honestly, I think I enjoyed the wedding much more than the planning part which I feel would be quite common. I really enjoyed the DIY aspect and being able to create things myself and probably my favourite part was going to pick my dress with my mum and bridesmaids. We had a really nice lunch and just celebrated. I feel like I celebrated for a whole year actually, that was fun!”

“We loved the photos,” notes the bride, “it was so fun with all of the wedding party. We had champagne and were able to just hang out together after the huge morning we all had. Once they were done, it was so nice to just spend time with each other getting our photos taken.”

Emily and Matt worked with The Little Flower Market to create the floral arrangements for their day, telling  “The one thing we were focused on with flowers was cost. Yes, they look beautiful, but we couldn’t believe how expensive some of the quotes we received were.

The Little Flower Shop was the only place who asked us what our budget was which we really appreciated it. Once we told her, she then worked within that to create what we asked for. We wanted simple natives, a bit of colour for the bride and just greenery for the bridesmaids. What they created was honestly perfect, I couldn’t have hoped for anything better.”

Emily and Matt loved working with photographer Anita, citing the photo session by themselves as one of their favourite moments of the day. “Anita was unreal, so relaxed and kept everything really simple. We looked around for a few different people but none really stood out to us. Throughout the photos, Anita didn’t say much, just let us do our thing which is what we wanted. Looking at the photos, I am so glad she did because none are posed, the ones of the wedding party are so happy, with everyone laughing the whole time. There are ones of us dancing and just having the best time. It makes me so happy looking at them.”

Emily created much of the wedding decor herself. “I love drawing and anything art related so I designed all of the menus, place cards, welcome sign, bar sign, seating chart etc. My mum and aunty did a lot of DIY greenery and brought their jars with tealight candles/ fairy lights in them.”

Tells the bride “Something else that was special and I’m sure if you asked anyone about our wedding they would say they remember this the most… is how much Matt cried. Through his vows, through his speech, you name it he cried. And I’m not talking a tear, he couldn’t speak he was verging on sobbing. It just made the whole thing so genuine and real and beautiful (he will kill me for writing that haha).”

Oh, and Emily made sure she had her turn! “I made sure to include a speech from myself. Apparently, it’s not generally tradition for the wife to make a speech which I couldn’t understand. I wanted to tell everyone mine and Matt’s story from my perspective as well as all the things I love about him and to thank my bridesmaids who had all been amazing.”

The newlyweds knew a first dance wasn’t for them, instead, they invited everyone to dance together! “We didn’t have the first dance, this was one of those things which made me so nervous and uncomfortable thinking about” explains the bride. “Matt and I are generally quite silly, so thinking about us having to slow dance while everyone watches was not something we were excited for so decided not to have one.”

A big congratulations to the newlyweds! Thank you for sharing your special day with us. Thank you also to Fennel & Fern for sharing today’s golden images 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.

  • Ceremony Officiant
  • Wendy Andrews - Every Moment Ceremonies

Michelle & Rob

Carrying an abundance of lilac toned blooms, Michelle married Rob in an outdoor cathedral in Swan Valley. A classic day styled with luxe details, this winery wedding has us swooning! Sandie Bertrand Photography captured the day.

The bride tells, ”We met eight years ago at a friends party and hit it off straight away. Within the week Rob had asked me out on our first date. We had a whirlwind romance for two months until on Boxing Day Robert was in a motorbike accident and was very seriously injured – breaking his leg in 3 places. It was holding his hand waiting for the royal flying doctor that I realised I did not want to be without this special man and told him I loved him for the first time. Robert was flown to Perth and had successful emergency surgery to save his leg.”

Finding her dream gown took Michelle more time than originally thought, but it was worth it in the end. She shares, ”I am not normally a girly girl so had no idea what would suit me. I went on a few shopping trips with my girlfriends to try on different styles and types of dresses. Bridal By Aubrey Rose made it such a memorable and fun experience! They were so friendly and approachable from the moment we walked in. After I found my style they were so great at talking through all the options, as I changed my dress to have a blush underlay. The whole day was amazing – as was every visit after. My grandfather passed away the year of my wedding, my sister had organised as a surprise to get a heart made out o the the blue shirt he had worn to my brothers wedding sewn in to the bodice of my dress, so he would be close to my heart on my wedding. My something borrowed was my mother’s embroidered handkerchief from her wedding day.” The groom and groomsmen wore navy check suits from Politix.

Finding Toast Events open air chapel was a dream come true for Michelle. She remembers, ”I had always wanted a church ceremony but had come to the conclusion that this couldn’t happen to due to our guest list size and the options in the Swan Valley. But then we were shown Toast Events, seemed to mix the best of both worlds – we could bring the church to Sandalford!! We pulled this off only 10 days prior to the big day. Kirk Samuel Goodsell was our celebrant and had written such a personal ceremony full of love and laughter and a few traditional touches for me – like my dad giving me away. I think he found the perfect balance and made the ceremony completely about us. He had put me at ease just before I walked down the aisle but nothing could prepare me to see my now husband burst out in happy tears at the sight of me. I couldn’t stop smiling at him the entire time – I truly had never felt so happy than in that moment.” The bride walked down the aisle to ‘Easier Tonight’ by Matt Wertz.

Orchids, lilacs and roses were just some of the blooms featured in Michelle’s epic bouquet. She tells, ”My flowers on my day were truly amazing. We had been recommended to get in touch with Annaliese from Signature Floral Design through a friend and she was a god send. I gave her the vaguest of details. All I knew was we wanted moody colours like plum and burgundy, an over the top bouquet and some florals around the ceremony and tables to finish the room. It was her vision that pulled together our fabulous day. I could never of imagined what she pulled off and was blown away at every turn. I don’t think there was a single person who did not comment on how amazing they all looked. I also carried a small picture of each of my grandparents tied in to my bouquet as only one could attend the day.”

Luxe details don’t just happen, and Michelle managed to find genius creatives to help. She shares, ”My favourite part of wedding planning was getting to meet all the vendors. They all have such passion for what they do and have such amazing insight to the wedding day. I found that each time I went to a meeting with one of them I came away feeling more organised and at ease that everything would be perfect. My florist, photographer, videographer and celebrant really stood out. We let each of these vendors have free creative reign over their section and it turned out amazing!!”

Sandie Bertrand Photography captured the winery wedding in all its beauty. The bride tells, ”Sandie is amazing! She captures beautiful, candid moments but is never in your face. I never felt scripted to perform or stand a certain way. She has way about her that put you at ease and helps you relaxed. She helped us get all our group shots done quickly so I could have some alone time with Robert before the reception. She really made the day for me, as I was very worried at having a camera and a person with me all day but I didn’t even notice them snapping away most of the time. Our photos have turned out beautifully and could not fault a thing. She was a must have for us and we choose our date around her availability, I could not imagine the day without her.”

Rob had the inside track on good venues, as he used to be a wedding DJ. Michelle shares, ”We choose to have our reception at Sandalford Wines. Victoria, their wedding coordinator, had worked with Robert before and as such he had absolute faith in her and the team’s ability to host and run a smooth wedding. We also love the ambience the vineyard and venue has – as it is not overly done up. Robert wanted to have the reception in a room somewhere he had never worked before. It seemed liked fate that not long after we started to look for the venue Sandalford announced their new Estate Room to be built and completed the autumn before our wedding.”

Providing a beautiful surprise for the bride’s mum who was a ballroom dancer, Michelle and Rob secretly had dance lessons for two months before the wedding. They remember, ”We chose to dance to The Script – Never Seen Anything ‘Quite Like You’. She believed I had two left feet and was devastated that none of her children (as I was the last) would do a ‘proper’ wedding dance. The look on her face when we walked out was priceless. We also had dry ice for the first dance which looked amazing and had the added bonus of helping to hide me stepping on Robs toes. We found our classes leading up to the wedding were actually a really good way to relax and enjoy the wedding process plus we got to wear in our wedding shoes so no blistered on the day.”

A huge thank you to our gorgeous bride and groom for sharing your lovely wedding day with us, and congratulations! Thank you also to Sandie Bertrand Photography for your brilliant images!

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.