BACK TO TOP

modern wedding by the river021
I worked closely for many months with Adelaide-based wedding gown designer and couturier to the stars, Paul Vasilef, who heads up the label Paolo Sebastian. The custom gown surpassed all of my expectations with off-white Italian embroidered lace applique over a French tulle base, which was semi-sheer, with further layers of nude, pink and sand tulle underneath adding contrast. The gown featured an illusion neckline and mermaid silhouette, with a detailed lace back and gorgeous train that glided down the aisle. Working with Paul Vasilef was absolutely incredible. He’s so down to earth and talented, and really understood the aesthetic I was chasing. That’s why it’s important you always choose a designer who already creates gowns you would sell your house to wear. The fact that I chose Paul, out of several other designers, speaks volumes; as it’s quite a long trip from Perth to Adelaide. Amazingly though, he was able to do my consults via Skype including measurements and fabric selection. Just incredible.

modern wedding by the river001

modern wedding by the river004

modern wedding by the river005

A tough choice for me was whether to wear my hair up or down on the big day. I feel more glamorous with my hair down but, with the gown’s lace detailing, I opted for a sleek, low knot bun. My hair was styled by Marie Cain at Head Studio, while Aimee Smart from Allure Beauty Couture used her amazing skills to create a glamorous look with smokey eyes.

modern wedding by the river014

modern wedding by the river015

modern wedding by the river023

Images by Jemma Keech Photography

Ms Zigzag says: Need I state the obvious? What a spectacular dress!!! Take a look at this beautiful modern wedding by the river from start to finish.

If there’s one thing I know about weddings, it’s that family and friends love to get involved in the planning and give their opinion on how they think the day should play out. While it can be helpful to hear advice from the people we love, often couples just want to organise a day that truly reflects themselves and their relationship.

Today’s bride Sharni shares her secrets for planning her dream wedding: “Get a planner – it’s the only sane way to do it! Have fun with it and remember it’s about you. Do the things that make you happy or are special to you as a couple because you will get bombarded with opinions.”

Classic Customs House Wedding153
Classic Customs House Wedding154
Classic Customs House Wedding156
Classic Customs House Wedding157

For more on this beautiful Classic Customs House Wedding, click here.

Here at Polka Dot Bride, we were so excited when an email landed in our inbox titled, “SHE’S ENGAGED!” All of our deadlines, phone calls, things to do, our worlds came to a screeching halt until we found out everything. We never tire of happy engagement news!

I opened the special announcement note to discover it was one of Australia’s most loved bridal and couture designers Begitta who had said a big “yes” to her beau, Robbie. Every engagement story is unique, raw, perfect, clumsy and fabulous all at the same time, however there was a small part of me that did an extra little happy dance for Begitta who has dedicated her life and her craft to designing wedding gowns for others, and now, well, it is her turn to experience all of the joy for herself. 

At only 23 years of age, Begitta Stolk founded her own self-titled fashion label. After being made a finalist in the Australian National Retail Awards, airing on Channel 9, Begitta was an instant hit with media and customers alike. Today, Begitta shares the story of her engagement in her own bubbly and down-to-earth words, which is accompanied by her modern fairytale engagement styled shoot, captured so beautifully by Kaitlin Marie Photography

We’re Engaged!!

Oh my goodness! There are few moments as special as when a man gets down on one knee, the world stops spinning for those few seconds, the heart seems to stop and go faster at the same time as he asks the love of his life to be his wife. And he chose me! Me!

How it all happened… The Long Version!
It all started with a trip to Melbourne, Australia. I am a Fashion Designer (coincidently I specialize in Bridal gowns) and over the past few months have been working on creating gowns for Miss Universe Australia. As a state sponsor I created gowns for the top 5 National finalists from our state, Queensland. The national finals were held in the beautiful city of Melbourne, so my amazing and supportive man, Rob, flew down with me to attend the week of events and the big Gala dinner.

Being the perfectionist that I am, I asked Rob to send me through the accommodation booking so I had the address and details for where we were staying so I could plan our way around to all the events etc. Upon arriving at the hotel/apartment early Tuesday morning, the lady we were checking in with said that we had only booked 3 nights. I freaked out a little as we were supposed to be there for 5 nights, wondering why in the world I let him book the hotel (control freak!). Rob then said that was correct and told me he had booked the last 2 nights in another hotel with fluffy robes. Having an affinity with the sweet caress of those fluffy hotel robes and disposable waffle slippers I shut my mouth and walked away letting him finalise the check-in. Who was I to complain about fluffy robes?

I didn’t ask questions, both of us having spent the last 3 months working incredibly long hours, I knew Rob wanted to treat us to a bit of relaxation and spoiling (and fluffy robes!!). Rob then spent the next 15 minutes downplaying the hotel saying we were moving somewhere closer to the football stadium, as we were going to a game on Friday night.

We spent the week in the city lunching in beautiful restaurants and having coffee and French pastries in laneways and hidden alleys. The Thursday night Gala dinner and Miss Universe Australia Crowning was absolutely amazing and the event was so much fun. Come Friday, feeling a little fragile after ever flowing complimentary wine throughout the previous night, we packed our bags and Rob ordered an Uber. As we were about a block from the hotel the Uber driver said “You’re staying at the Hotel Windsor, is that right?” Rob froze and then turned to me and said “Surprise!! For all your hard work, I wanted to treat you!” Being very gracious to the Uber driver who just soiled his excitement, but not mine, I was over the moon! Having stayed a night at the Windsor the previous year with my mum I was so excited to spend TWO WHOLE NIGHTS there and with my love as well!!! To add to my excitement we were upgraded to a top floor suite! Such a treat and we were both so excited to explore the hotel.


The Hotel Windsor is like a dream, with previous guests including Royalty, Anthony Hopkins, Meryl Streep, Prime ministers… Just to name a few. The old elevators are like bird cages and the restaurant is beautiful silver service with heavy white linen table cloths and exquisite food, pretty much my idea of heaven! It’s my dream hotel and Rob, having a bit of an old soul much like me, is a lover of old world style decadence. After our first date we had both felt we’d known each other a lifetime, we’ve often discussed that we may have met in a previous life in an old era of the world as we both have a penchant for the finer things. #MeantToBe!

We had planned a ‘Date Night’ on the Saturday evening, our last night in Melbourne, at a beautiful French Restaurant that we had been to on our anniversary the previous year. When we awoke on Saturday morning to the room service I’d ordered the night before (on those gorgeous little pre-order cards you hang on the door!) Rob said “Happy Anniversary!” I hadn’t even realised it was the 1st of the month, which is our Monthly Anniversary! It was our 2 year and 10 month-iversary!

We spent the rest of the lazy morning nibbling breakfast and drinking coffee. While sat at the window overlooking the stunning view of the park and Parliament building, Rob pawed through the information booklets in the hotel room compendium and pulled out the luxe gold ‘Hotel Windsor’ embossed stationery and we decided we should write each other love letters and post them home. Something about snail-mail that is so special when you receive it, so we both went into our own little corner and wrote a little something then sealed off the letters to drop to the concierge to post. We then got dressed around midday and went to explore the city. We visited the Victoria Parliament building and spent time in the park, playing and kicking up autumn leaves like children then we lounged on a park bench reading our books. As the sun drifted lower in the sky, the freezing Melbourne air bit our skin so we made our way back to the hotel to get ready.

I put on a dress Rob had suggested I bring, not really thinking, I had packed it and decided to wear it after he said again that I should. It was a white slip dress and skirt of my creation that is so swishy and fun to wear. We arrived at the restaurant and waited for our table, whilst we waited we sampled wines and then chose a beautiful bottle of French white wine. Rob had made the booking and requested “The most romantic table”, in hindsight it should have been a hint but he had wanted a particular table last time we were there so it didn’t spark any interest, I felt more excitement because I loved “our” intimate table towards the back.

Rob seemed so calm and collected the whole time so I easily squelched the thoughts that it might happen tonight, we ate a platter of h’orderves and then sampled the escargot! After that Rob started saying he felt funny, we ate our delicious mains and held off on dessert for a bit as we were sooo full. Rob went to the restroom (where I later found out he was checking the ring was still there!) and our dessert, Crème brûlée, came out. When he sat down he said we should get a photo, we were taking photos all night but he wanted to waitress to take it. She didn’t come back for a while so we waited, for what felt like forever, I just wanted to taste the Crème brûlée! Rob seemed to get more and more nervous in just those 2 minutes and as she came over he asked for “a photo…” then in somewhat of a mumble he said “or a video”. The lovely lady started filming, asking how my meal was, I felt so awkward I had no idea what was going on.

Then Rob took out a pocket watch, it was a beautiful little vintage one we had found when we were in Melbourne the previous year, He told me when we had bought it at Victoria Market that there was so much going on, so much hustle and bustle and for just a minute time stopped, we had looked at each other, he said he knew more than ever in that moment he loved me. He started pulling out a little white bag from inside the watch. Then he pulled out the ring, the most beautiful thing I have ever seen, then got down on one knee beside the table. I stood up realising what was happening, by this time my eyes were streaming and my ears were buzzing and the whole world seemed to have stopped spinning and the words Rob said melted my heart. The moment went so quickly and so slow at the same time, so overwhelmed with all the emotions that I can barely recall the words though, I remember him saying “I want nothing more in my life than for you to be my wife, will you marry me?”…

These two images above are not sourced from the Modern Fairytale Styled Shoot, but from the actual moment from Rob asked for Begitta’s hand in marriage, and we couldn’t resist sharing this magical moment with you all! Now, let’s get back to Begitta’s feel-good story…

The universe fell silent for that moment in time, I said yes and he slipped the ring on my finger. It fit perfectly and it felt like all the stars had aligned. Then the world started spinning again and the entire restaurant erupted and so many got to their feet clapping and cheering and I kept asking if this was real! We sat down and just stared at each other whilst my eyes streamed. You could not have wiped the grin off Rob’s face while he started telling me how long he had been waiting to ask me, that he had worked so long on the ring. Having looked at over 80 diamonds until he found the right one, he told me “I searched and searched for the perfect diamond like a penguin searches for the perfect stone when they find their partner for life”. Then he agonised over every detail of the custom setting, I had wanted a Tiffany set solitaire since I was about 12 years old and dreaming of my Prince Charming, but Robs slight changes made it even more beautiful. It is more stunning than I could ever imagine, so classic and as timeless as our love.


When we got back to our beautiful suite at the hotel we took our shoes off and holding hands jumped on the bed like kids! Rob in his suit and me in my dress laughing and jumping in circles yelling “We’re getting married!” I can’t imagine a more magical moment! The whole weekend feels like a complete dream and getting to spend our whole lives together forever feels like a true fairy-tale!

Days after arriving home the postman dropped off the most beautiful mail I have ever received.
A luxe gold embossed ‘Hotel Windsor’ envelope entitled “My Dearest Begitta” had arrived.

“My Dearest Begitta,
I write you this letter on the evening before I ask you a question that will forever change our lives. I write this with my heart full of love and my mind full of dreams for us. I write this as a promise that I will forever be giving you my love and forever be trying my hardest to keep you happy. As I write this letter you have no idea what I have in store for you but I will soon be the happiest man alive. My sweet love, every moment with you is a dream come true. Every kiss is passionate enough to make my heart skip a beat. Every cuddle gives enough love to power a rocket to the moon. To my future wife and mother to our future children, you are the reason I wake up every day and the reason my life is so wonderful.
With all of my love, Your biggest admirer, Rob XOXO”

Did I mention I’m the luckiest girl in the world??

Ms Zigzag says: Following the high of becoming a future Mrs, Begitta returned home from Melbourne to some more exciting news. She says, “I was absolutely blown away when we got home from Melbourne after our big engagement and I had a message in my inbox from the beautiful Tanja, a gorgeous model and planner I have had the pleasure of working with and an incredible team of wedding vendors saying they had all had a chat and wanted to create our dream engagement shoot!” 

Thank you to Begitta and all of the talented vendors who worked on this special modern fairytale engagement story. We are thrilled to share Begitta’s big news and can’t wait to follow Begitta’s journey to the altar and beyond.

Photographer: Kaitlin Maree Photography / Event Planner: Tanja​ Meyer - TM Event Planning / Styling: Ivy & Bleu Events / Styling: Event Stylist & Co / Gown Designer: Begitta –Bridal & Couture / Hair & Makeup Artist: Bella Brides / Venue: Evergreen Garden Venue / Sweet Treats: Two Little Bakers / Invitations & Stationery: KB Lettering / Doves: Beautiful White Doves / Engagement Ring: My Jewellery Shop / Prop HIre: Innovative Hiring / Butterflies: Butterfly Releases Australia