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Image of Brianna Roberts and Louis Pratt

Brianna & Louis

With the leaves falling and creating a stunning dappled light, this gorgeous couple tied the knot with family and friends surrounding them in the Blue Mountains. James Simmons Photography was there to capture their smiling faces as they start their new chapter together as husband and wife! The Bride, Brianna tells the story of their divine day in May.

There is something about Autumn that has always made me inexplicably happy. I love driving down tree-lined streets and the dappled golden light that flickers through a canopy of leaves. It almost feels  as though you’re warm and safe within a happy memory.

That’s how it feels to drive along The Avenue in Mount Wilson and arrive at the iron gates of Breenhold Gardens, a grand private estate at the top of the Blue Mountains. Within the grounds, along the garden path and through the archways we found Socrates Garden. There, on a chilly autumn day in May, we vowed to love each other, “in all circumstances and through all the seasons of our lives”.

Wedding dress by Cappellazzo Couture

I fell in love with a picture of ‘The Dress‘ online and immediately wrote to designer Sonia Cappellazzo, fearing it was likely to break my limited budget. She confirmed this gown was indeed quite special. The delicate Swiss lace was incredibly unique and she had only enough left to make one more dress. I tried to find something else, but when the dress started literally entering my dreams, I flew to Melbourne to meet Sonia.

Making the stakes even higher, the dress would be made from scratch and would require at least three trips from Sydney to Melbourne for fittings. No small task for a bride-to-be with a fear of flying. Focus on the destination is the advice frequently given to fearful flyers, so I spent each trip with white knuckles gripping a photograph of the dress and imagining seeing my groom’s face when he saw me in it.

But as with anything that has been held too tightly and for too long, when I eventually went to pick up my dress, I could only see flaws. I had fixated on an image – a picture of a model wearing a dress. But this was a different dress, one made just for me. I was struck by overwhelming self doubt. All too accustomed to neurotic brides two weeks out from their wedding, Sonia assured me it was beautiful and I should stop worrying.

But the night before I was due to fly back to Sydney, I stayed up late staring at an embroidered flower I was convinced was one millimetre from where it should be. I went back to the store the following morning and between anxious gasps asked if there was anything they could do. Sonia simply smiled and carried the dress carefully away. “Everything will be fine“. One tiny stitch of reassurance for an anxious bride and all was well.

The bridal preparations took place at a weatherboard house in Blackheath called Heatherton. I slept a total of three hours the night before, like a small child before Christmas, so everything was softened by a blur of sleepiness.

 

I wanted bridesmaids, Anastasia and Candi, to have slightly different styles of dresses to reflect their personalities. We had them made almost a year in advance by a woman based in Tel Aviv and somehow they both fit beautifully (even with Anastasia bringing a bonus flower girl along for the ride).

Have I mentioned the Groom yet? His name is Louis and he’s pretty wonderful!

We met on a dance floor at a jazz bar in Marrickville. A man wearing a hat danced up to me with sparkly eyes and a big smile on his face. He kept picking me up and spinning me around, while I chastised him to unhand me. He told me he was an artist but I didn’t believe him. “You’re just a man with a hat!” I exclaimed, and we parted ways that night without exchanging numbers.

Unbeknownst to me, he had managed to slip a business card into my handbag – straight into one of those pockets you never check. It took me at least two months to find it, but in the meantime, I had used my journalistic skills to track him down. We met to dance another day and we’ve been dancing ever since.

Image of Bridal Party at Breenhold Gardens

When our wedding photographer James Simmons Photography suggested we scale a cliff in blistering winds on our wedding day, I got the impression he was trying to construct a metaphor for the inevitable challenges we would face over the course of marriage and our lives. How would we cope in the face of adversity? Would we hold on to each other and help each other persevere?

A gust of wind picked up my veil and almost blew it off the mountain, and my quick-thinking groom grabbed it – a good sign.

We are lucky to have talented friends and family, who provided the musical soundtrack for our day. For our first dance, my Dad played piano and sang the Grace Kelly/Bing Crosby classic True Love. At the ceremony, we had beautiful renditions of La Vie en Rose, La Barcarolle and Cheek to Cheek.

“Heaven, I’m in heaven, And my heart beats so that I can hardly speak, And I seem to find the happiness I seek, When we’re out together dancing, cheek to cheek”.

 

The morning after the wedding, following the adrenaline of the day, I woke up feeling like I’d been hit by a bus. I had the sudden urge to see photographs of the wedding. Unfortunately, by my own directive, our guests had not been allowed to take photos during the ceremony. The idea was that people could be present and in the moment.

One thing nobody tells you about being in the moment on your wedding day, is that it’s actually impossible. In the lead up, you’re planning this one important day in the future and you focus on every detail as though you’re omniscient, seeing everything from above. On the day, you can only see parts, and you miss out on seeing arguably the most identifiable feature of any wedding – the bride! It’s like going to Paris and getting to the top of the Eiffel Tower and wondering why it doesn’t look like Paris anymore, because you’re smack bang in the middle of it.

You can’t see the Eiffel Tower because you’re in it. Sometimes too, ‘the moment’ feels far too significant and overwhelming to experience while you’re in it. But somewhere between imagination and memory, what happens is a series of beautiful moments, like brightly coloured leaves cascading from an autumn tree.

With special thanks to our friends and family who made our day possible by volunteering their time and talents. In loving memory of our beloved Bob, who made it his last mission on earth to be there.

Brianna & Louis Highlight Film by Cinehaus.

Ms Zebra Says: Congratulations to these two smiling lovebirds! What an incredible place to say ‘I do’ and begin the next chapter of your lives together. 

Bride’s Note: This beautiful area of the Blue Mountains has been impacted by the current Australian bushfire disaster. Donations can be made to either to NSW RFS or the local Mt Wilson recovery appeal (https://www.mtwilson.com.au/).

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.

Stacey & Mitch

You can’t help but immediately fall in love with this wedding – and stunning couple! Selecting the ever beautiful Mali Brae farm, the backdrops provided endless photo opportunities as well as the ease of getting ready on site! From including all special family throughout the day to laughing and relaxing with their bridal party, Stacey and Mitch made the most of the day.  The talented Weddings By Tim was there to capture and showcase the incredible and special moments shared. The Bride Stacey spills the details of their wedding and begins by telling how the pair met!

My housemate had recently started a new job and asked me to go along with her to her mid year work party, where I met Mitch sitting on the same table as us. I don’t actually remember meeting that night but he pursued my friend to set us up. We went on an awkward 3 way date, then Mitch chased me for about 9 months before we actually started dating!

I wore a Grace Loves Lace long sleeve backless dress that hugged in all the right places. I chose the head to toe stretchy lace because I wanted to feel comfortable on my wedding day and loved the simplicity of the gown against our rustic country setting.
I found my gown online and flew my bridesmaids up to the Gold Coast for the day to try it on. I knew it was the one when I walked out and they all started crying. That was a really special memory for me!

Mitch wore a navy suit and bow tie from MJ Bale, he added a rose gold tie clip to match my jewels on the day. Mitch knows I love him in a navy suit, so chose navy over black.

Our wedding was on the beautiful Mali Brae farm on 7th April 2018. We married outside under the old oak tree before our reception held in the old dairy farm barn. We wanted a natural setting with beautiful fresh flowers, lace and styling to suit the beautiful country setting. Our goal for the day was to include genuine heartfelt moments for both ourselves and our guests.

I walked down the aisle to ‘Feels like home’ by Chantal Kreviazuk

We wanted our ceremony to be unique, genuine and casual, including some traditional components but nothing we didn’t genuinely want to include. We asked a long time family friend, who is a pastor at our church to marry us, which was really special.

He spoke from the heart and shared how he knew Mitch and I with our guests. We took communion together as part of our faith, which we shared in a special private moment with my grandparents whilst our guests listened to my favourite song ‘I can only Imagine’. We took communion from Mitch’s grandparents crystal glasses as they could not be with us. We had asked our friends Kelly and Karl who we had recently attended their wedding in South Africa to share a bible reading and message in our ceremony.

We asked them to choose something they felt was suited for us and it was a special surprise on the day what they were going to share. We wrote and shared our own vows, which made us laugh and cry and chose our mums to sign the registry to include them in the day.

Mali Brae farm is a privately owned property in Moss Vale near Bowral. The property is a renovated old dairy farm, which provides a beautiful contrast between rustic country and modern beauty. The property has beautiful lakes and a boathouse – just some of the beautiful locations to take photos. We stayed in the old dairy house, one of two accommodation options on the property which is just metres from the reception shed.

Tim from Weddings by Tim was great and really captured our day exactly how we wanted. He was so fun and made Mitch and I (who are usually so awkward in photos) feel at ease all day. We also did an engagement shoot with Tim, which built a great rapport for the day.

I had my 3 sisters and best friend as bridesmaids and Mitch had his brother and 3 best mates as our bridal party.

We have a huge photo of us framed at home where we ran to the top of the hill on the property just as the sun was setting, the photo is a silhouette of Mitch and I holding hands just taking in the moment as the sun went down.

The only heirlooms we included was for Communion with my grandparents using Mitch’s grandparents crystal glasses and I wore a pair of beautiful rose gold earrings from my mum.

There are too many favourite moments to pick! However, reading my vows to Mitch was incredibly special. A favourite detail was the personalised thank you cards to each of our guests.

Our caterers Violets and Vinegar were so amazing. We had shared plate food, which everyone raved about and they were so kind and easy to get along with in the planning process. They returned any enquiry really quickly which helped a lot! We recently visited their new restaurant in Bowral for our 1 year wedding anniversary where they made us a replica (smaller) wedding cake and made our night really special.
My favourite part of the wedding planning was putting together our gifts for the bridal party and guests.

We chose white and nude flowers with rustic greenery to complement our venue and style. Our tables were decorated with Gold goblets and glass vases filled with flowers and greenery garlands. My favourite piece was the stunning hanging feature over our bridal table and our gorgeous textured bouquets. I also loved the beautiful circle back drop covered in flowers for our ceremony.

I hand baked personalised ‘Mr & Mrs Wild’ cookies as a gift to our guests and Mitch and I wrote personal Thank You cards to each guest, which were placed on their table setting for them.

There were so many great moments but the funniest had to be the bridal party entering the reception. My bestie Alana danced her way in but got the heel of her shoe caught in a drain at the door, pulled the drain out and took it with her before falling to her knees in front of everyone. She made it fun and laughed her way through it while her partner Tim tried to free her from the drain and the whole reception cheered with laughter applauding the entertainment. Even better, our photographer captured the whole thing.

We wanted to make sure we included all our family in our day. We had My brother and Mitch’s uncle MC, Mitch’s sister in law said grace before we ate, our Dad’s said a speech, our Mum’s signed the registry and our siblings were in the bridal party, as well as our 10 niece and nephews as flower girls and page boys.

We also wanted to make sure we took a moment for just the two of us to get outside and have a moment together during our reception. We had some beautiful night photos and shared a drink together before going back to join the party.

Our first dance was to ‘house is a building’ by Anderson East and surprised our family and guests with a choreographed waltz that my sister (a professional dancer) had been teaching us in the weeks leading in.

Plan your day based on what you want, not what others want you to do is our best advice for future couples. Remember, it’s your day not theirs.
Make sure you take a quick moment to escape the crowd and take in the day with just your and your partner too!

Ms Zebra Says: Congratulations to this gorgeous pair! What an amazing day that we are so thankful you’ve shared with us! From the styling to the look of love, this wedding had it all!!

 

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.

  • Dance Lessons
  • Chanelle Manumalealii
  • Hairstylist
  • Kiss by Katie Salon
  • MC
  • Brett Johnson & Robert Gibson
  • Wedding Ring
  • Rainbow Jewellers

Jessy & Bradley

Imagine a stunning garden backdrop, native flowers, friends, family and a relaxed vibe and that’s exactly the wedding of Jessy and Bradley! They laughed, shared and enjoyed the day as Casey Gray captured all of the special moments. Bride Jessy shares their incredible day with us in the top end and tells of their love story!

The first night Bradley & I met was with friends. We had all gone down to Lee Point Beach, where we drank with friends as we laid on the sand. We hit conversation off with ease and to top it off, both witnessed the biggest shooting star fall over the ocean. We both remember it so vividly.

Bradley’s attire was a hard one. We knew what we wanted, but every time we found a jacket that we liked, they had run out of 1 or the 4 sizes we needed. So, when we went to Melbourne to see Mumford and Sons in January, we stopped in at Blazer and they had every size we needed – slim & regular fit too!

My Maid of Honour was my Pen Pal of 12 years! Her name is also Jessy and from America. Plus both my sisters, Holly & Beau. The boys were Bradley’s work (defence) mates, Best Man, Zacc (Wazza), then there was Bradley (Millsy) and Ryan (Simmo).

I knew I never want to spend thousands of dollars on a dress, so I decided to look on Still White website (second hand dresses) and found ‘Frankie’ from Made with Love Bridal. It was located in Byron Bay, so I organised my mum to drive down on the weekend and check it out for me (as we are in Darwin). She FaceTimed me and said it was perfect and probably won’t require any alterations, maybe just the height she said.

So she bought it for me, posted it up and I tried it on. It fit like a glove, not one thing needed adjusting. How crazy is that… I think I tried it on at least 5 times throughout the year before the big day.

Our wedding was held at George Brown Botanical Gardens, on Holtze Lawn and in the Secret Garden, Darwin NT on Friday June 28th 2019. I was told by Bel from Creative Two, our wedding was best described as ‘rustic boho’. We are such laid back people, we couldn’t have pictured it any other way.

The song I walked down the aisle to was a surprise for Bradley. We both LOVE Mumford and Sons and our song is ‘Lover of the Light’. I knew it would be a tear jerker – and it was! We didn’t even practise the timing, it just worked out perfectly.

 

The ceremony was done by one of my best friends, Christi Hamon. She organised the whole thing. We are not traditionalist, so it was very light hearted and made it more personal that she had known us both for many years.

We always pictured an outdoor wedding, amongst beautiful landscapes – and the Botanical Gardens was a perfect fit.

I always knew I wanted Native Flowers and I also knew the best girl in Darwin to do that was Maria from Beija Flor – she did an incredible job!

Our favourite photographs are the ones in between the posed photos. When we are naturally laughing. Our photographer & videographer were also mates of ours – they both did such an amazing job!

We did a few things DIY. I did all the signage for our wedding, as I’m a freehand typographer and my mother in law went above and beyond and made all the vases, confetti cones and our thank you clay coasters – she spent months doing all this. I think she was glad the day was finally over.

We loved Betty Vintage Bar Van – the service they provided on the night was outstanding. We would highly recommend them. Also Bel from Creative Two was so amazing, setting up and rearranging furniture where needed, she put a lot of effort in making our day so beautiful.

A really special thing we included was a cardboard cut-out of our late doggo ‘Jess Dog’ who we had to put down earlier this year from Lymphoma cancer. She was Bradley’s best mate. It was so special to have a her there (even if it was only cardboard form).

Our favourite detail was the cocktail theme of the whole event and the festoon lighting really complemented the area!

Advice for future couples? Elope!

Ms Zebra Says: Congratulations to this gorgeous couple! Love the relaxed vibes and happiness that shines through on your day. We wish you both all the best in your happy marriage together!

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.

  • MC
  • Briney Cobb
  • Wedding Cake
  • Serina Henderson
  • Wedding Planner
  • Briney Cobb