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Fran & Lex

When a wedding theme is inspired by German beer gardens, has customised steins, the couples’ favourite beers flowing, espresso martins and alpacas (!), you know it’s going to be a fun one. Today, take a virtual trip with us to Brookfield Hall in Queensland where Fran and Lex’s wedding took place. Think party vibes. A food truck. Friends and family. Long tables. Hay bales. And festoon lighting! Capturing this wedding in all its glory was the talented Lauren Olivia. Below, Fran details how their dream day came to life.

Lex and I first met in high school and drifted in and out of contact, but reconnected years later after finding each other on Tinder.

We were married at Brookfield Hall on July 27, 2019. There was no set theme for our wedding, but we took inspiration from German beer gardens since we got engaged in Germany. The steins, long bench seating, trestle tables, as well as the hanging greenery. Also we had bretzles! We had a bit of a country feel, which worked well with the beer garden theme. The festoon lighting and hay bales made it very chilled out. Our aim was to just have the biggest and best party of our lives where everyone has a great time.

My dress was ‘Cordelia’ by Maggie Sottero.

The dress was the biggest extravagance of the wedding. I originally planned to just wear a simple gown that I found online. One day I stumbled accidentally on a picture of this dress and couldn’t get it out of my head. I tried on similar dresses and in the end bought it unseen, which was a huge risk… but it looked perfect. It also had pockets! It suited me perfectly. I also wore Lex’s grandmother’s pearls.

I had a great florist (Daisy & Co) who made it very easy. I have no idea what kind of flowers I like so all I did was send pictures I liked and the perfect bouquets arrived. I especially liked the lavender and thistles.

I wanted a small bridal party but Lex has a big heart and lots of close friends and two brothers. I ended up with three close friends; two from high school and one from my work as a midwife. I also had Lex’s youngest brother as a bridesman. Lex had his three good friends from high school and his middle brother. We didn’t have best man or maid of honour.

Lex isn’t very picky and just chose a suit he’d like to wear again. He has the date embroidered in the jacket. You’ll notice after the sun goes down the fancy RMs are replaced with his comfy work boots.

We chose to have our wedding at a hall mostly because it allowed us to supply our own alcohol. We chose to have both ceremony and reception at one location to make it easier to transition. Also, this location was the closest thing to a country wedding we could get without travelling too far from the city. We liked the bushland and country feel to the setting and the cute country hall with turrets. It had a very laidback and relaxed feeling to it.

Lex made the arbour we were married under by hand.

 

I walked down the aisle to an instrumental version of the Jurassic Park theme because I’m a dinosaur nerd.

We wanted our ceremony to be relaxed and happy but also quite short! I think we balanced it nicely. We had two readings: ‘Union’ by Robert Fulghum, which was read by a friend of ours. Also, ‘All I Know About Love’ by Neil Gaiman was read by Lex’s aunts.

Nobody excepted it so the alpacas were a huge surprise. So much so that one of the aunts nearly went and told them to get out, thinking they were just wandering through our reception – she worked it out quick though and thought it was hilarious.

Having Lauren Olivia as our wedding photographer was probably the easiest part of the wedding. I never had to worry about anything to do with the photography. She knew exactly what needed to happen and when, and she was so full of surprises. Can’t praise her enough!

My favourite photo is probably the one on the hill with me twirling in my dress.

 

My favourite detail of the day was the dinosaur cake toppers. I pretty much just had a cake for those toppers!

The table flowers and hanging greenery were DIY’ed by family and friends. Most of the furniture and décor is from our parents’ houses.

The food truck La Parrilla was amazing, extremely tasty and very easy to deal with, flexible and accommodating dietary restrictions.

The beer choices were important to us. Lex is a huge beer nerd and works in the industry. We spent a lot of time fine tuning the drinks menu to include our favourites.

We almost didn’t have a first dance because we couldn’t pick a song! But on the night we decided to just dive in and do it so we danced to ‘Never Tear Us Apart’ by INXS almost at random. So glad we did because it was one of my favourite parts. Lex absolutely can’t dance though and we didn’t practice at all, so good thing our friends and family love us enough to not laugh (openly).

My advice for future marrieds to be is don’t do stuff you don’t really want to just because everyone does. The day is so short!

Ms Floral Says: Congratulations Fran and Lex on such a fun-filled, joyous wedding! Wishing you all the best in your married life together.

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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.

Polka Dot Bride Shop

I was lucky enough to sit down for a virtual glass of bubbles with Fenella McGowan. You might remember Fenella and her strong social game from Season 3 of Australian Survivor, but she’s also a talented interior designer, new mama, podcaster with her alliance mate Shonee Fairfax, and an all round lovely human being!

Today we chat to Fenella about her life highlights, plus got her to share her favourite memories and details from her gorgeous wedding at Rupert On Rupert in Collingwood, Melbourne.

Tell us about you and your life and career highlights!
My husband and I welcomed our first human baby this year (we’ve had our two fur babies for over 10 years). I thought design school would’ve prepared me for the sleep deprivation… how wrong I was! Prior to the babe, I was working as an interior designer and loving it! I went to uni three times before I decided what I really wanted to do. I tried my hand at textile design when I first finished of school, then screen printing design. Then seven years later (good god!), I began my interior design path. I’ve always loved space. It’s an intriguing object to play with and something which we move in and out of every day. There are subtleties within all designs that act as cues towards the inhabitants behaviour. That concept will forever be astounding to me! I think my proudest moment to date was having my very first design come in to fruition, something I’d created from conception through to the finish build. It was also the most stressful months of my life (Survivor included!) but to walk through a space which first came to life within my head was so humbling and wild! I’ll never forget it!

Tell us about your wedding! What was your most “memorable” moment?
It was at the wonderful Rupert On Rupert in Collingwood, Melbourne. The whole day is pretty memorable so it’s hard to pick one! I LOVED walking down the aisle to Barry White’s ‘Youre The First, The Last, My Everything’. I mean who wouldn’t wanna walk down the aisle to the sweet chocolatey sounds of Barry White?

I loved that my husband and I each made a signature cocktail for everyone to drink. Mine was labelled the ‘Flirty Fanny’. She was pink, terribly boozy, quite expensive and honestly, just me in a glass. I had eight bridesmaids which in itself is a little memorable! I surprised Leeroy (my husband) with a colourful streamer backdrop for us to stand in front of. He actually organised the whole event, or so he thought… but I had a few little tricks up my sleeve.

And lastly, we decided to have a wall of lolly bags instead of a cake. It was so gorgeous watching people go through their lolly bags, picking out their favourites. Actually our entire wedding turned in to a gigantic karaoke which was hilarious. It all got a bit loose towards the end, but that’s the sign of a good wedding, I guess!

If you could change one thing, what would it be?
I would’ve made my dad make a speech. He’s since passed away and due to ill health at the time, he was unable to walk me down the aisle. So although he was there and we still shared moments together, I feel like I could’ve included him more. Thankfully he and I share the same musical taste so although some people may of felt the disco vibe was overdone, he and I most certainly felt the groove! My advice to anyone is to ensure you include the ones you love. Simple in theory but sometimes hard to action out.

Did you have a favourite vendor?
My favourite vendor is a tie between Bangin Hangins and Georgie Boy. Sarah, the masterful lady behind the colourful streamer wall piece, and Georgina, our florist, were amazing. Talking to both of them felt like I was talking to old friends! I didn’t really give the greatest (if any) directions and yet both somehow knew exactly what I was after and then some. They’re the type of people you just wanna take to the pub and have a few beers with!

Who were your vendors?
My dress was made by my friend Dharsha Maurice. We worked together back in the retail days! Leeroy’s suit was from Briggins Clothiers and his tie and pocket square were by B.TIES. Our celebrant was Anthony Cribbes. We didn’t have a band,  just a playlist I’d made. However, so everyone had a little stamp on our day (and to help nudge people along with the RSVPs) we asked everyone to send in a song when they did RSVP. I had great plans to turn all of those songs in to a CD to give everyone but that idea, along with my thank you notes, are still yet to be actioned out. Eeeep!

About Fenella McGowan: Fenella McGowan is an interior designer from Melbourne, Victoria. She lives with her husband, son and two fur babies, and was a contestant on Australian Survivor: Champions v Contenders in 2018.

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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.

Veronica & Ryan

A fun, casual and colourful wedding in the Yarra Valley? Yes please! Veronica and Ryan married at the Coombe Yarra Valley, surrounded by beautiful bright blooms, stunning gardens and their nearest and dearest (including their gorgeous son, Oscar). Jess Nicholls was there to capture the day in all its laidback loveliness, as the bride and groom committed themselves to officially being a family. Below, Veronica details how the day came to be, the importance of including their son, and how their team vendors brought their vision fo their wedding to life.

Ryan and I married on November 3, 2019 at Coombe Yarra Valley. Celebrating with our family and closest friends, committing to our family, plus marrying my best friend, made our wedding special.

For my bridesmaids, I had my two sisters, Gemma and Stephanie.

On my wedding day, I wore my grandmother’s pearl earrings she left me when she passed away.

My dress was simple, fitted, with a giant bow on the back. My designer was Silvana Tedesco she helped me decide on it. She is amazing.

Ryan has his brother Wil, brother-in-law Max and best friend George as his groomsmen. Ryan’s dinner suit was from Calibre. He wore a white jacket with black pants, and a giant Tom Ford bow

I walked down the aisle to ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love’. It was sung by a live band.

We wanted our ceremony to be light hearted. Precious Fawcett, our celebrant, really helped us out with that. We both felt very comfortable.

Having our beautiful son bring our rings to us was a very special moment.

We really wanted our son Oscar to be part of our wedding. Everything we do is for our son so we wanted to be an official family for him.

So… The biggest dilemma on the day was the weather! We both really wanted to have our ceremony outside as we fell in love with Coombe’s stunning gardens. However, it rained all morning and afternoon so it looked like things were not going to go our way. Luckily enough it cleared, we had our ceremony and photos outside, and then as soon as we headed in to start our reception, it began to rain again. How lucky are we!

Our favourite moments were going off as a newly married couple and taking our photos. Jess Nicholls is such a good photographer! We went with her because her photos are very natural. We didn’t want posing photos, more just pictures of moments and emotions.

We got our flowers from Style by Nature. I wanted really bright colours and they helped me create it. They absolutely nailed it on the day.

Our first dance song was ‘I Found You’ by Calvin Harris. We danced with our little son. It was very informal, just like us.

My advice to soon to be newlyweds? Marriage is constant work. You need to commit to always wanting to work through things if you have that you will have a long relationship.

Ms Floral Says: Congratulations Veronica and Ryan on your marriage and doing your wedding your way! What a gorgeous day to honour your little family, with your nearest and dearest there to witness and enjoy your celebrations.

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.