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Clara & Chris

Marrying in a truly sentimental place for this gorgeous couple, they chose the beauty of the Daintree to say ‘I do’. Enlisting help from friends and family, the couple mainly DIY’d the wedding and ensured there was very little environmental impact from their big day. Issac from Perspectives Studio was there every step of the way to capture the beautiful day that was. The couple share the intimate details of their wedding day and we can’t help but fall in love with the incredible backdrop. 

Clara and I met in the summer of 2014 at the Falls Festival in Marion Bay, Tasmania. She was the girl with the sparkly eyes, a broken shoe and tube of glue. Chris was the best dancer with the biggest smile and was able to advise how best to apply the glue to fix the broken shoe.

Our wedding was intimate, earthy and colourful. We both love being in nature and like simple earthy designs. We wanted our wedding to be part of the beautiful environment that we were in so we went with light earthy tones, groom and groomsmen in light browns and whites, and contrasted it with bright pops of colours with the bridesmaids wearing different coloured dresses.

Flowers were from local florist, Flowers by Wynne. She created a beautiful bouquet using southern natives and tropical foliage. The bridesmaids actually made their own posies from locally sourced orchids and ferns from the property. Most of the furniture was up-cycled timber put together by Clara’s dad Peter leading up to the event.

With food, we didn’t want to lock ourselves into either the sit down, or just canapés. Arthur from Platinum Cuisine was wonderful to work with and very accommodating. He created a tasting board for our guests to get started on while we were away capturing some photos, followed by substantial canapés and a help yourself style buffet for mains. This worked really well, the food was fresh and tasty, and didn’t get in the way of conversations, dancing, or speeches!

To walk down the aisle, one of Clara’s long-time friends who lives in Port Douglas is a very accomplished drummer and guitarist and one night he sang a cover of “Under the milky way” by The Church. It’s a classic Aussie band, plus he’s a longtime mate and legend of Port Douglas, it all fit together!

Wompoo Eco Retreat is located at Cow Bay, the Daintree Rainforest. It’s generally a boutique retreat, but given enough convincing, we managed to shoehorn our way into booking the date. We couldn’t be happier with the day. It’s a stunning venue with a view that covers Thornton’s peak to Cape Tribulation. We chose September as it’s almost always dry in the Daintree and it’s the lowest humidity of the year up there.

Anna from Port Douglas Marriages did a fantastic job of turning our chicken scratchings into the lyrical readings, vows and speeches of the day. We couldn’t recommend her more highly. It was beautiful, personal and intimate. I had may people come and tell me they learned lots about our relationship from the content of the ceremony and speeches. Clara’s uncle Michael did a passionate reading called “the Amulet”, I’m still chasing the author of this.

Issac from Perspectives Photography did a fantastic job! We love his shots and also his presence. One of our favourite shots is us having confetti (made out of local ferns) being thrown on us after we got married!

Chris has a bit of a problem with Orchids at our place in Sydney, so unbeknownst to him, Clara went and arranged that the bridesmaids posies be made with orchids local to the Daintree and Port Douglas area, which was a wonderful surprise on the day for Chris.

Each of the flowers in Clara’s bouquet had some special meaning to her, from Geralton Wax flowers to orchids, Wynne did a great job making a fairly diverse set of requests into a cohesive and stunning set of flower displays for the bridesmaids, arbour and button holes.

Designer Rachel Bradstock at The Definite Article made a stunning dress for Clara a few years ago, and that was a really personal experience. It was so much fun hanging out with Rachel and talking about all the possibilities, flicking through photos and telling her what I liked and didn’t like. Rachel would then produce a number of sketches and we went from there. Rachel is based in Melbourne so it also gave Clara the excuse to visit her old stomping ground and hang with friends and family.

Chris was after a linen suit, because of the heat of the Daintree and also just because he likes linen. He anticipated some problems getting his hands on this in the Sydney winter. As it happens MJ Bale had linen in stock. Chris pretty much only wears Carhartt pants, so why change? Chris matched his linen vest and jacket with a new set Carhartt pants. The groomsmen had beautiful bow-ties from Peggy and Finn, which looked great against the simple whites and tans.

We had a mix of siblings and close friends in our bridal party!

Chris really enjoyed the set up of the reception with the open dance floor and loud music area on one side with a view of Thornton’s peak and the escarpment, then an intimate, quieter area on the other side with lovely soft lighting and lots of sitting areas that folks could hop between.

Clara’s favourite detail was having her friend Mick sing her down the aisle, and old and special friend singing a song that was special to her. She also loved her flower crown!

Our first dance was set to a song from the first night we met – which my brother-in-law (who was there on that night) had trawled the internet to find a version of. It’s a Norwegian producer called Todd Terje with him covering Whitney Houston’s “I wanna dance with somebody” in his trademark up tempo style. Really a party track! All the music was put together by Clara and my longtime friend Cameron Smith, which was magic. Cam picked up and set up speakers, as well as all the music on the day and night, what a legend!

We DIY’d nearly everything! We had so much help from family and friends – special thanks to Peter, Jill, Maggie, Tim, Mick Webb, Shaun, Jake, Floss, Adam and Craig.

Clara’s sister is an incredible cook and she made the most beautiful lemon and thyme wedding cake. That was really special because we know how much effort, love, and care went into it.

Our advice for future couples? Don’t over think everything. It’s easy to get too caught up in details which no one else will notice, and you won’t even care about on the day because you’ll be too happy!

Ms Zebra Says: Congratulations to these two love birds! What an amazing wedding and thank you for sharing with us!!

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Justine & Brenton

Breathtaking is an understatement to describe the wedding between this gorgeous couple as they exchanged vows overlooking the Broome coastline. Selecting meaningful – and amazing sites to host their ceremony and reception, meant that Julia Rau’s job capturing the day was easy!! With family and friends joining them from around the country, the couple made the most of the entire week pre and post wedding to host other events, such as whale watching and horse racing. Wonderful vendors helped to make the entire day run smoothly and we couldn’t be more excited for Justine to share all the details of their incredible day!

I was never into the online dating scene and unbeknown to many relatives and friends, one of my uni besties started an online dating profile for me. She took the reins for a while and mentioned that she had found a potentially good looking rooster who didn’t shy away from a joke, insert Brenton.

Brenton had just had back surgery, was stuck at home recovering and maybe a little lonely, ventured into the online dating world and came across my profile. He liked what he discovered, especially that I was studying to be a nurse – he could do with a nurse. We started chatting, planned our first date of eggs benny and everything started to fall into place.

I liked that he was a little rough around the edges, so genuine, down to earth and I think a trait we’re almost naturally wired to look for, he had the capability to make an entire group erupt into laughter. I was also impressed that he well and truly owned downing a VB before 11am. Between laughing every day, busting a move to Paul Kelly while cooking, travelling and planning our next adventure or getting stuck into our renovations we’ve been together since June 2013.

I chose a beaded gown by Australian designer Jane Hill – The ‘Luna’ gown from the Moroccan Rose SS19 Collection. I chose this gown as the beading work reminded me of the mother of pearl shell (pearling is a major industry in Broome, so it has become well known for it’s pearls). The stunning custom made v-neck and embroidered mushroom underlay made it stand out for me.

I wore my mum’s pearl earrings as ‘something borrowed’ from Broome’s ‘Galwey Pearls’

Brenton and his groomsmen chose a slim fit sand suit from MJ Bale for a more laid back beach vibe look. They tied this in with a long sleeved Trenery white linen shirt, tan brown shoes from Aquila and a tan leather Wolf Kanat belt.

The style of our wedding was all about reflecting the stunning landscape of the Dampier Peninsula in Broome. We wanted to show our guests, many of whom had travelled from afar for their first visit to Broome for our wedding, just how stunning the North West of Australia is. The theme was coastal vacay vibes and the atmosphere was to reflect fun, love and laughter, with some laidback ‘Broome’ touches.

I walked down the aisle to ‘Everywhere’ by Fleetwood Mac. AJ (Alan Moore) a local singer and long time mate of my brother Dan’s. AJ did his own live version of ‘Everywhere’ and brought all the feels to the day.

We held our ceremony at Gantheume Point, encompassing a view of a stretch of white sandy beach, overlooking the torquoise waters. We held our ceremony upon the red rock cliff face. We wanted everyone to feel comfortable and just to embrace their surrounds. Elle Saunders, our celebrant read out our story and we loved that we wrote our own vows.

 

Our favourite detail of the day was the ceremony spot we chose to tie the knot. It spoke all things the Kimberley in one view. It was almost as though our arbour framed the Kimberley colours for us in one photo.

We met Julia Rau in Broome the year before our wedding after hearing rave reviews of her style and we just knew instantly after meeting with her that her work was just what we were after. Right from the start, Jules managed to give us a personalised and professional experience. Organising a wedding full of many vendors from Melbourne and communicating via email and phone had its challenges although Jules made us feel at ease throughout all planning stages, she was always so quick to answer any questions.

Jules joined us upon the ‘Karma IV’ catamaran cruise the day before the wedding where she was able to meet all our family and friends before the wedding day and she got some stunning shots of both the guests and the whales. The day of the wedding, Jules managed to coordinate everything beautifully, she made everything so much fun and no detail was missed. Our photos are everything we had dreamt of and more. Candid, natural and captured everything we love about the beauty of the Kimberley.

My right hand woman/maid of honour was Elle; my sister who has become my best friend over the years and is always up for an adventure, a laugh and who is just the most thoughtful, caring person. And my bridesmaid Kimmy, my fellow fermented grape enthusiast with a heart of gold.

Brenton had his three brothers, Marcus, Hayden and Lucas.

Our flowers were by the lovely Jenna at Broome Florist. The colour palette request was to tie in with the bridesmaids dresses by Bec and Bridge in dusty rose and Jenna nailed it.

Brenton made a grand entrance and flew in on a helicopter to the ceremony with his 3 brothers/groomsmen (Marcus, Hayden, Lucas), his Dad Ross and my brother Dan. They took a 20min flight up to Willie Creek and flew back down Cable Beach. Brenton thought doing a KAS helicopter flight with the gents before the ceremony would not only calm their nerves a little but also be a bit of a thank you to them for being a part of the day and for travelling for our destination wedding.
We made sure we included AJ (my brother Dan’s long time school friend from Broome) as our entertainment for the day. AJ is a local Indigenous Kimberley refrigeration plumber by day and by night uses his exceptional voice to play his live music at all things party/weddings. AJ sang live at our ceremony and he added an additional member at our reception to have a two piece playing live music there. AJ learnt 5 of our favourite songs in no time at all and nailed them. The rest of his repertoire were the classic wedding party songs which kept everyone well and truly on the dance floor until the early hours.
The best detail of our wedding week were the events we had organised leading up to and after our wedding. We knew in having everyone travel from all over Australia to Broome was our best opportunity to show off the best that Broome has to offer and for all of our guests to make the most of their time up there. What made this a whole lot easier, was setting up our own wedding website, updated weekly, that way we had all things wedding, Broome and ‘your ideal week in the North West’ sorted in one spot.
We had organised a whale watching/sunset catamaran cruise on the ‘Karma IV’ for all of our guests the day before the wedding.

This was without a doubt the best lead up to the wedding. We were lucky enough to be surrounded by a family of Humpback Whales. It was an absolute banger of a day, everyone was just in awe of how beautiful the whales were. The day ended with a ripper sunset and some drinks at the sunset bar. The day following the wedding we all watched the staircase to the moon from the Mangrove Hotel, cocktail in hand and canapés galore. To top off the wedding week, we headed to the race round at the Broome Turf Club for the Broome Cup on Saturday the 17th of August. We threw a few bets down on the horses and got amongst the local two-up post racing.

Our Venue was the Broome SLSC with a backdrop of Cable Beach. You could never get over that view. We chose the Broome SLSC because it is the epitome of Broome and the place where I spent a lot of my childhood.

My dad hand made giant ‘B & J’ Letters out of fence palings for our engagement party- we recycled them for our wedding and had them sent up to Broome as a surprise to use at the reception. My dad and sister made a white mesh backdrop with a neon ‘the Jurey’s’ sign for the reception . I also DIY’d my own copper sign (recycled from our engagement party) – this was used to hang our ceremony entrance sign on.

Ash from ‘Aplus Events and Hire’ and Lauren from ‘Sunset Hire’ nailed our reception setup at the Broome SLSC. We gave them the style we were after and they came through with the goods. Both Ash and Lauren were a breeze to deal with and had our reception over looking the stunning Cable Beach looking an absolute treat.

Carl and his team from ‘Bali Hai Cafe & Restaurant’ catered with some superb food. Their grazing platter was outstanding, freshly shucked coffin bay oysters to die for and no hungry tummies at the end of the night!

Our first dance was to an acoustic version of ‘Never Tear Us Apart’- requested by Brenton – a huge fan of INXS!

Our advice to future couples would be to make sure you take a few minutes, walk away with your bride/groom to really take a moment to absorb it all together. We walked down the beach ramp a little and looked back up to the reception. It was so beautiful to see everyone enjoying themselves and to take in that moment together!

Ms Zebra Says: Congratulations to this gorgeous couple! What a wedding?! The landscape looked absolutely amazing. 

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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.

Lauren & Steve

It was a whirlwind for this gorgeous couple after being selected by The Today Show to win their wedding and have it televised live on morning breakfast news! Nothing fazed them as they embraced the short time frame, worked with their wedding planners at Creative Two and of course, enjoyed a few surprises on the day! Jesse of Beach St Photography was there to capture their day, working in the scorching heat and finding all of the heartfelt moments. The Bride Lauren details their wedding and all that came with winning their incredible day! 

Steve and I met at my cousins wedding in early 2017. Steve and I had both grown up in the same area, but had never crossed paths. My auntie Susan was trying to set us up with each other in the past, even when we were dating other people and I lived interstate. A set-up was obviously something that didn’t appeal to either of us.

When I walked into the wedding venue, I noticed him straight away, with a massive smile on his face, standing tall amongst the bridal party. After the ceremony he was brave enough to introduce himself to my mum and I. The reception went off with lots of dancing and singing. Steve over-performing for the congregation, even going as far as to give my auntie Susan (cupid) a lap dance. He was very charismatic and had a very friendly, charming and energetic aura about him.

He asked me to dance that evening, and the rest is history.

On 23rd December last year (2018), Steve had hiked down and set up an incredible picnic at one of my favourite places to visit, the Channels (on the Avon River). When he brought me down there and pulled out this delicious bottle of bubbly and a platter (made by his mate who happens to be a chef), he’d definitely set the bar high as far as picnics go.

After a brief sip of champagne, and before i stuffed my face, Steve was getting down on one knee (which was no small feat as it is very rocky and uneven ground along the channels)… It ended with a YES!

Around Feb 2019, we were going on our first overseas holiday to the Philippines to celebrate another friends wedding, when we heard about this Top End Wedding Competition that the Today Show had announced. In conjunction with Tourism NT, the promotion of the Northern Territory and the Australian premier of Top End Wedding, the Today Show were giving away an entire NT wedding to one lucky couple.

We see competitions like this all the time and thought we’d enter it, get our friends to enter on our behalf, then thought nothing of it. My cousin Tori’s entry sparked their interest, and they asked to see a short video of us interacting and telling them why we thought we should win. We had just ridden our motorbikes back home from Metung, looking a bit ratty and the sun was going down. So we quickly wrote what we wanted to say on some paper, stuck it to the outside wheely-bin, sat the phone on top and pressed record.

A few weeks and numerous phone calls later, we believed we were in the top 3. We couldn’t believe it! We felt like winners already! So they sent a camera crew to our house one morning, and said they’d announce the winners live on the show. When Stevie walked through the door, that was it!! Unbeknownst to us, they had already chosen Steve and myself over 12,000 entrants to get married in the NT, live on the today show!! We couldn’t have been more lucky or overwhelmingly happy. I got to marry my one and only on May 6th 2019 in front of our nearest and dearest, beside one of the beautiful coastlines this country has to offer, in glorious Darwin. It was magical!

I didn’t think we really had a style or theme necessarily. The ceremony was outdoors with an incredibly vibrant backdrop of Darwin city, a turquoise sea and a bright blue sky. We kept things fairly modern and simple, leaving most of the décor and styling up to our beautiful wedding planner Belinda from Creative Two and the florist, Beija Flor.

We had a few rows of white string lanterns overhead and a stunning arbour. Just behind and to the side of the seating arrangement was a mix of tables, chairs, a bar and food table for all the guests to enjoy before the ceremony began.

Another one of our surprises was that we had David Campbell sing his rendition of For Once In My Life as I walked down the aisle! So technically, the song I walked down the aisle to, was chosen for us.

We are both pretty down to earth, so we wanted our ceremony to be relaxed, fun and not too long-winded. We wanted to pay respects to the land on which we were to be married, and those who are no longer with us, but always in our hearts. We also wrote our own vows, which were inspired by google. It was probably a healthy combination of several websites, to be fair!

We loved our celebrant Caitlyn from Ceremonies by Ceejay, Darwin. She was such a cool chick, and really easy to get along with. It felt like we knew her for ages, right from the get-go. She spoke very well too and with a clarity that could be heard by the entire congregation.

Steve says his favourite photo of the day was the one of him and his Pa. It’s very special to Steve to have his Pa see how far he’s come in life and the man he is today. Pa was the only grandparent we had there that day as all others have passed or were unable to attend due to illness. Steve is very close to his Pa, and we were so happy to be able to share our day with him.
I’d say it would be hard to choose a favourite. One that stands out to me was when we flew in a helicopter to the coastline of Hotham, north-east of Darwin for some secluded snaps. This untouched shoreline can only be accessed via boat or plane if I recall. By this time it was the hottest part of the day, and being very fair white folk from Victoria, we were sweating up a storm.

Shaun, our helicopter pilot from Nautilus Aviation Darwin, went above and beyond in his role and followed me around on the beach with an umbrella to shield me from the sun, as I had no sunscreen on. Our wedding photographer, Jesse snapped a great pic of this moment. He was a life-saver or make-up saver. Either way, it was one of those little, special moments which I appreciated immensely. Not all hero’s wear capes. Thanks Shaun!

My dress was from LUV Bridal and Formal, Moonee Ponds, Melbourne. It is a floor length A-frame with a sleeveless heart shape corset top. It has an intricate beading and embroidery design, with a soft nude underlay, which I believe was a perfect match for my fair skin tone. At first, we tried on a variety of dresses for the filming process.

With no time to spare before flying to Sydney for filming, I organised to go back to the store the following day to try to find “the dress”. After what felt like a long process of elimination, I was worried I wasn’t going to find what I wanted from that store, and I was starting to feel a bit overwhelmed, knowing I didn’t have time to have anything made, and that I had to find something “off the rack” as they say.

It was the last dress I tried on, having been pulled off the mannequin. I never thought I would have chosen such a “princess” dress. I had thought that I would have preferred something a little more simple, but in the end, this was the dress that stood out for me. It was elegant and flattering for my figure. Both my mum and I knew as soon as we looked at each other. It was the ‘ah ha’ moment everyone talks about, and it finally happened.

On the bride’s side, my maid of honour was my cousin Tori (who’s entry won us our wedding). My 3 other bridesmaids consisted of my brothers (now fiancé) Melinda, my cousin Stacey (who’s wedding is where Steve and I met), and my other cousins wife Anne-Marie, who is just a beautiful soul. On the groom’s side Steve’s best man was his brother Pat. He also had his cousin Brent, his long-time work mate BJ and my brother, Ryan.

The boys went to Ferrari Formal inside Myer in Melbourne. They did some filming here with the Today show crew before choosing their suits. I think this was a tad easier for all involved, being guys who aren’t all that fussy. I think Steve had some ideas about what colouring he wanted. They also had to keep in mind that they were going to be wearing 3 piece suits in the NT, where it was bound to get warm.

I had already given him a rough idea of the colours both myself and the bridesmaids were wearing, so that we’d be sure nothing would clash (just in case). They ended up choosing a lovely royal blue suit with matching tie, brown leather shoes and a white crisp shirt. Steve wore mostly the same, except for a cream, light linen jacket (just to stand out haha).

Due to our Wedding being in the NT, we liked the idea of a tropical feel to the floral arrangements, but we were also keen on having natives as well. Steve and I weren’t too fussed on flowers to be honest. I think our only main requests was to have nothing pink (not a fan of pink), and draping flowers like Spanish moss trees (which I looooove). That, and I think they needed to have flowers that wouldn’t wilt too quickly in the elements.

We flew up to Darwin on the Friday. Our hens and bucks were day-long events which lasted until 2am on the Saturday. Sunday was dress-rehearsals before a 2:30am start for hair and make-up on Monday morning for our 8am Wedding, live on the Today Show.

Safe to say Steve and I were pretty knackered by this point. So much so, that I’d lost my voice on Sunday. Gone. It was down to a whisper. The morning of our wedding day, I was silent. I was getting so worried that I wouldn’t be able to say my vows. I had no back-up plan, so I was just hoping against hope, that my voice would break through when push came to shove. We made sure my mic was cranked, so the people at home could hear it all.

Sure enough, my voice cracked through when it counted most and I was able to say how I felt, to the one I love.

Our surprise venue was Pee Wee’s at the point. A spectacular outdoor location, with waterfront dining, looking over the city of Darwin. They are well-known for their sensational cuisine and hospitality. We also loved that we’d be married on a vibrant stretch of green grass with a backdrop of tall trees.

I always thought it’d be nice to get married in a garden or something with lots of trees around. Especially since I grew up in the bush and have always loved being surrounded by nature. It worked out perfectly. The evening reception was held at Wharf One on the Darwin waterfront. It too had a simply elegant atmosphere, gleaming with warm lighting and stylish décor. The food was bloody delicious too!

We had a few extra special detail requests which the wonderful Bel (our wedding planner) was all hands on deck in organising for us. They included things like stubby coolers for guests, a photo board for those who couldn’t be or are no longer with us, mini espresso martini bottles etc.

Steve says his favourite detail of the day was “My wife, walking down the aisle”. I swear, that’s not just me writing that. He actually said it!!
I think my favourite detail, was having my mum and brother walk me down the aisle. Plus, although we didn’t have any special traditions, being able to wear my mum and dad’s wedding rings on my right hand was very special to me and felt like I very much had them both right there beside me.

Jesse from Beach St Photography was amazing. She had the right vibe we were looking for when it came to capturing the relaxed and natural moments. We were lucky enough to have met her on our first trip of filming up to the NT. We got a chance to take a few pre-wedding pics with her which was great to get to know how it all works before the big day.

Well Steve and I both decided to go with our favourite road trip song for our first dance – You Make My Dreams by Daryl Hall & John Oates. We love it so much, we actually found a beautiful slow version of the song by Tim Halperin. So we started off our dance with the slow version, then cut into the original for a fun up-beat dance.

Since we only had 6 weeks from finding out we had won a wedding to the actual wedding day, our guests couldn’t believe we had time to learn a dance! But having a strong dance background myself, I couldn’t not have a choreographed dance for our wedding. So I employed the skills of an old family friend Davina to help put together the perfect mix of sexy and fun to get the party started.

Our advice to other couples is don’t sweat the small stuff. I know it’s easy to say from the other side, but you’d be surprised how much you don’t actually care about on the day. I don’t say that to down-grade anything we had. As I’ve said, our day was perfect and all our vendors provided the goods.

What I mean is, it doesn’t matter if you have to get a smaller cake, or cheaper flowers, do your own hair, or do a lot of DIY. At the end of the day, no-one really cares about whether you had cute shoes or quirky things to line the aisle, or that their gifts weren’t like the last wedding they went to. And if they DO care, they must be pretty shallow peeps.

As long as you have food, drinks, music and a celebrant, the rest is up to you. After all, you get to marry your man, woman or lampshade and isn’t that the whole point?

View the wedding in full here!

Ms Zebra Says: What a wedding?! Congratulations to these two love birds – and thanks for not only for sharing with us, but all of the Today Show viewers!!! What a great competition to win!

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
  • Davina Kendall
  • Entertainment
  • Rachel Rachel
  • MC
  • Steve's Brother Pat