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Sarah & Gerrard

Sarah and Gerrard were both drawn to the idea of getting married in Tasmania. They both wanted their wedding to feel down to earth, warm and welcoming, and loved the sense of adventure that came with recruiting all their guests down for the occasion, who were all spread out down the east cost of Australia. The beauty, history and charm of their venue, Brickendon Estate, along with its farm animals, offered the perfect canvas for the couple to create a rustic/vintage style wedding. The pair tied the knot on March 7, 2020. The day was captured by Cassie Sullivan Weddings and Wonderlust Films. Below, Sarah shares their love story, how they planned an interstate wedding, and all the details behind their sentimental touches and inclusions. 

Gerrard and I had begun chatting in July 2015 via a dating site called Plenty of Fish. We chatted for a number of weeks before we decided to meet in person. After a string of disappointing dating experiences I had really low expectations, so much so that I had actually cancelled our first scheduled meeting at short notice in favour of heading home after work to relax on the couch! Our meeting rescheduled for the following Sunday evening. At that time, the idea of going out on a grey, drizzly and cold Melbourne winter night after a draining day at work to make awkward small talk with a stranger that I may not have had connection with felt incredibly painful. I remember quite vividly complaining to my friend at work that if I was going to make the effort then he had “BETTER make me laugh!”

Feeling bad, I didn’t want to cancel again and luckily, parking limits near to our meeting place gave me a good excuse to keep it short and sweet. Forgetting my coat and running late, I rushed from the car park across the road to a small intimate bar along Brunswick St in called Baxter’s, Gerrard’s suggested meeting place. As I walked up to the bar I saw a tall, lightly bearded guy patiently waiting outside in the cold. To my immediate relief at his composure and assumed sanity, it was Gerrard. Warm and friendly, he gave me a hug hello and opened the door for me to go inside.

I immediately felt comfortable and enjoyed his company inside the dimly lit, ambient bar and had lost sight of time. When I realised that I only had 10 minutes left on my parking metre and had to leave in a rush, Gerrard called me out on it, saying something like, ”Suuuure you do! You planned for this didn’t you!” Deciding it was best to call it a night anyway, Gerrard, a gentlemen, walked me back to my car and hugged me goodbye.

The next day at work, I wondered if I would hear back from him. I received a text that afternoon saying that he had really enjoyed meeting me the night before, and then admitted that he was almost about to cancel on me too as he wasn’t feeling up to the risk of a dud date but was really glad he didn’t.

There were many elements that were important for us to have for our wedding day, in addition to the travel expenses we were required to spend having it in Tasmania (as we were both living up in Brisbane). I didn’t want the budget of our catering, musician, beverages, bus hire for the guests etc to be overridden by a dress that I knew I would only wear once, so I decided to let go of the idea of spending big on the “dream dress” I was tempted to buy and to see what I could find in a pre-loved one instead.

My chosen wedding dress was created by Made with Love and I purchased it via the website Still White. Funnily enough, the first and only dress that I tried on was only in the next suburb from us and fit perfectly as the seller was a similar height to myself. Only cups needed to be inserted and a bustle added. Even more surreal, the seller and her husband were also married in Tasmania, at a venue that had been on our list to check out.

My mum and bridesmaids (who included my sister) all live in Melbourne, so I had a close friend of mine (who I went to school with in Melbourne and was now also living in Brisbane) come along with me to try on the dress, video chatting with my mum and each of my bridesmaids separately so they could give me their verdict… They all loved it! It was a nice feeling to walk into the person’s house who I was purchasing the dress from to see her husband nursing their little baby girl on the couch. I fell in love with the idea of wearing a dress that already had a happy story woven into its fabric, and for me to weave mine in too, and to eventually pass it on.

Gerrard had proposed to me with an engagement ring he had made that mirrored the shape of his mum’s wedding and eternity ring set, along with those two rings. I wore one of her rings, along with my grandma’s engagement ring on the day.

Instead of getting a separate wedding ring made, we had decided to embellish the engagement ring that Gerrard had made for me so my engagement and wedding ring would be in one. During the design process I was only able to imagine what the design would look like with the extra jewels stuck on with Blu Tack, so as you can imagine, it was very difficult to visualise the final product.

When the ring was ready to pick up, Gerrard was adamant that I was not allowed to see the final product until he put it on my finger at the ceremony, and so we did the same for his wedding ring. It was incredibly painful to wait that long to be able to see it, but it was nice to have that element of surprise on the day.

My bridemaids were my sister and my two best friends Ash (maid of honour) and Celeste who I had been friends since prep in primary school. Gerrard had his brother Warrick as his best man and two long time friends Rohan and Katie as his groomsmen/lady.

Gerrard and his groomsmen/lady purchased their attire from Peter Jackson who were very helpful in working with our ideas and pulling the look together. The pants and shirt almost fit Katie perfectly with some slight alterations, but she had to get the jacket significantly altered. We were thankful to have a friend who worked in fashion design that took care of the measurements for Katie so she could go and get it altered.

The boys purchased their shoes from ASOS and I loved the richness of the brown against the navy blue pants, but poor Katie had to go on a bit of a mission as they didn’t have her size or a female shoe alternative. She ended up finding a men’s shoe in a similar colour that fitted her quite well.

We were both very keen on the idea of suspenders, with a lighter coloured jacket to dark pants. As Gerrard had always had a thing for wearing happy socks, I was keen to integrate his humour and personality into the attire, and we went for a matching bow tie as well.

I have always found the charm of live acoustic music during a wedding ceremony to feel incredibly moving, ambient and a facilitator for connection, and I felt quite strongly that this was something that we couldn’t compromise on for the day.

I love peonies, dahlias, roses and natives but knew some of these wouldn’t have been available so I went for what was in season Tassie. After raiding Pinterest and sharing images with our talented florist Lacee from Flowers By Lace, using her expertise and eye for colour she created bouquets that were more beautiful than I had imagined them to be.

Our flower girl Scarlet, daughter of my bridesmaid Celeste, has cerebral palsy and had been going through intensive early intervention to help support her growth and development, with one of her primary goals being able to communicate and gain the strength and ability to walk. I work in the area of disability and am passionate about helping others to reach their full potential and be the best they can be. I wanted to present Scar for the beautiful person that she is, away from any labels that can often distract away from a person’s capabilities, and I guess reflecting on this now, I wanted our ceremony to have soul and to reflect what inspires me every day in my work, people defying the odds and limitations to achieve their goals to the best of their capabilities.

I had also felt inspired by the transformation Celeste (initially the least maternal one of our friendship group and now super mum) and her husband Dan had made since having Scar, going through the fear of the unknown to becoming Scar’s biggest advocates to help her live a full life with access to every opportunity available to her. I draw a lot of my inspiration from observing the way people thrive through challenging circumstances and make the most of it. We loved that such a special family moment was able to be witnessed and experienced by our guests on the day, and that we had the opportunity to provide the landscape.

I walked down the aisle to ‘Hysteric’ by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. The acoustic version of this song had been gently moving for me. While I never believed in the idea of needing someone to “complete” you to feel whole as a person, the lyrical sentiment “you suddenly complete me” I guess, really resonated for us, because life suddenly became much easier, and within myself I felt more like myself, accepted and balanced, after we got together. Our musician, Tony Mak, had learnt the song, among two others, especially for the wedding and did an incredible job of setting the tone for the ceremony.

We both wrote our own vows and Gerrard, after teasing me for a long time about how he was going to make fun of me (we banter a lot), surprised me by writing the most beautiful, heart-felt vows that will be remembered forever. If I wasn’t so adrenalised by realising that I forgotten the bloody rings just before I went to walk down the aisle, I would have “ugly-cried” (Gerrard’s goal) for sure! I was on such a high though, wish we could relive that moment again and again!

As soon as we first visited Brickendon Estate, we knew it was the venue for us. We had visited five venues beforehand and nothing really resonated like this one. We fell in love with the charm and the history of place (a world-heritage listed farm estate built by convicts and still owned by a family line), the farm animals and the dogs following us around while we checked out the venue, and also the beautiful historic cottages that we could use to accommodate our close family and bridal party. Even more importantly, we loved the warmth and the easy going, relaxed vibe that was immediately felt while Louise showed us around the venue. Louise’s daughter Eliza who supported us in the last few months leading up to the wedding and then on the day, went above and beyond to first help us navigate wedding planning via the web as we didn’t have the opportunity to see the venue again until the week before our wedding, and then was very patient and accommodating in helping us pull it altogether on the day. Our guests loved the adventure of travelling to Tasmania and spending time at this gorgeous venue and it provided the perfect backdrop for our wedding photos that we will cherish forever.

Our wedding photographer was Cassie Sullivan. I found stumbled across Cassie’s photography on the web and I was drawn to the beauty, soul and honesty expressed in her images, which is how I wanted our day to be remembered. Cassie was highly professional and a pleasure to work with. She was so calm and chilled out on the day, the kind of person you want around when there is so much happening around you. She is an absolute artist and going through images of our wedding makes me feel like we are transported back into those moments, reliving it all over again.

Our venue was a blank canvas and we had to coordinate hiring a lot of our equipment and purchasing the finer details. Being an engineer and highly creative, Gerrard used our wedding as an excuse to buy a CNC machine and designed and created all of our wedding signs. We assembled our own table decors, made our own wedding favours which were cooking spices (having a passion for cooking I couldn’t not do it!) with the help of a couple of our friends. We designed, with the assistance of Enklo Printing, most of our own stationery. We used left over jars from my best friend’s wedding, which were transported in the back of their car over to Tassie for the flowers and candles as part of our table décor.

If the logistics were in our favour we would have tried to gather as many pre-loved items as possible to use as wedding décor, however due to shipping costs we had to purchase and gather a lot from discount stores and Kmart when we arrived in the week leading up to our wedding.

I loved the idea of using fresh culinary herbs as table runners to further contribute to the rustic/farmhouse feel, so Lacee, working within our budget, organised herbs and natives that we could assemble during set up, along with some extra florals to use in our glass jars for colour and soft ambience. They all worked beautifully with the candlelight during the reception.

It was important to us to honour the memory of Gerrard’s mum, each of my grandparents and other close relatives at our wedding. I grew up deeply inspired by the love and humour between my grandparents they were my role models in knowing when I had found the right relationship for myself. I had always imagined that they would have been there to celebrate my wedding with me and I was heart broken that my grandma had only just missed out, passing away from a fall three weeks before our wedding.

The last six weeks of our wedding was a time that was a bit of a mind mess (for use of a politer word), meshed with grief and celebration while I travelled back and forth between Melbourne and Brisbane to spend time with Grandma, for her funeral, and for my Brisbane and Melbourne Hen’s celebrations.

Only nine months into our relationship we had found out that Gerrard’s mum was diagnosed with terminal cancer and a very short life expectancy, which motivated our move from Melbourne to their family farm in Brisbane, a move that was a significant leap so early in our relationship. My granddad passed away only a few short months after. We created a memorial section complemented with candlelight and florals, and included photos of Gerrard’s mum Lyn and my grandparents during our getting ready photography. A little surreal, we had my uncle pull out the day before our wedding and our bridal team accidentally set up a seat for him next to my mum (my grandma’s daughter). Deciding to keep the table setting as it was, I had a leftover picture of my grandparents and placed in the centre of the setting, next to mum and our bridal table. I knew that they weren’t going to miss being there with us.

I also organised for a colleague to do a “photo shoot” of our dogs so that we could incorporate them into the day somehow. Our dogs would have definitely been apart of the bridal party otherwise.

Tassie had really blown us away with its standout vendors, we were impressed by the friendliness, talent, generosity and professionalism by everyone we had on “our team”.

Special mentions to Meg Culhane for being so helpful in the beginning with giving us pointers to assist with wedding planning and being so calm and organised on the day. Swinging Gate Vineyard for giving us a few helpful tips during our first trip to Tassie, and for going above and beyond in service with helping to supply us with plenty of wine, and to also Van Dieman Brewery for their flexibility and great service. To Tony Mak for doing such an amazing job with music. To Cassie Sullivan Weddings and Samuel Brooks from Wonderlust Films for being fun to hang out with, extremely talented in what they do, and to each give us a product that we will one day get to share with our own kids and grandkids (hopefully). To our DJ, DJ Dan, for being the nicest DJ ever in town, who had everyone up dancing and who rounded up our last few guests to ensure that they didn’t miss the bus. To Marlo from Matson Catering for being so super generous with her time and incredibly helpful through a lot of my overwhelm in organising the finer details. To Jess and Jess from Mint, Relax, Revive and Olivia Jones Makeup Artistry for being so calm and easy going on the day and helping to make the morning fun. To Melinda from Event Avenue for being incredibly patient with me and helpful in helping me to pull my ideas together for what to hire. To Flowers by Lace for her talent and friendly nature. And a massive thank you to Eliza from Brickendon Estate for being so supportive and flexible with helping us to pull it all together in the last few days leading up to the wedding.

The whole process of wedding planning was incredibly stressful. For one, there was the challenge of planning a wedding remotely with all the guests travelling from three different states, and most of our bridal part lived in Melbourne (including my bridesmaids), and trying to work out the attire for our groomslady, who lived in Melbourne. I was also studying my final year at uni and running my own business so it was an enormous juggling act to try and manage it all, along with moving house. In the final six weeks of the wedding my grandma had a fall and fractured her hip, and then sadly passed away. There was also the looming COVID-19 pandemic, and I was worried about how that was going to impact our plans, especially when we had guests genuinely concerned about the availability of toilet paper during their visit (very, very fortunately, we made it JUST IN TIME!).

Funnily enough, after all of these stressors, I was the most chilled out that I had been in the whole process on the day, and the day and the weather was perfect. It went better than we could have imagined, the only hiccup to reflect on was me realising that I had forgotten the rings just before I went to walk down the aisle. If we could go back and relive the day all over again, we would! It was absolutely the happiest day of our lives!

For our first dance, we chose ‘I Am So in Love With You’ by Ball Park Music.

I had often romancitised about the song I would dance to at my future wedding to, long before I had even met Gerrard, and often these fantasies involved smashing out a little dance number like Chubby Checker’s ‘Let’s Twist Again’.

When he proposed it didn’t take me long to share many of my evolving ideas with him, which much to my disappointment but not to my surprise, he hated many of them (but was definitely not opposed to learning a dance). While there is a lot of music that we both enjoy together, there is a broad musical spectrum and Gerrard deviates towards the end that favours heavy metal and as I call it, “screamo” while I am at the other end, favouring softer folk and acoustics. While I had been working hard fine tuning our play list for our engagement party, Gerrard sent me a text to say he added this song that I hadn’t heard before by one of our mutual loves, a Brisbane band called Ball Park Music. We just didn’t have time to go into any great practice for a dance, so we went with this song, something that I think quite accurately reflects how we feel about each other.

My advice to anyone who is as concerned about trying to make everyone feel happy as I had been in the planning process, I know how anxiety-provoking it can be! It’s a big lesson for personal growth however to learn how to take a step back and remember what’s the most important for you both and keep that as the central focus, because the day is about you guys celebrating your love in your way, with the people who love and care the most about you near (and far), question when that isn’t being honoured to regain perspective! Also, make sure you prioritise self-care to care for your mental wellbeing so that you can make the most of it and enjoy this exciting time together!

Sarah and Gerrard’s wedding video by Wonderlust Films

Ms Floral Says: Congratulations Sarah and Gerrard on your marriage, plus an absolutely gorgeous wedding in a stunning part of Tasmania! All your choices were so thoughtful, and I love that your special day really highlighted your personalities and what you love. You must look back on it with so much joy.

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Jodi & Mark

Newlyweds Jodi and Mark say their wedding was a study in international cooperation! Jodi (a local WA born and bred girl) lives and working in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Mark, her groom, is an Englishman living and working in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Their wedding took place in the Margaret River region. They admit that planning a wedding from three different countries was at first stressful, as they couldn’t go and meet with their suppliers to make final decisions! They soon realised they’d have to trust their gut and their talented team of vendors. And what a day they managed to create from afar! There to capture it was Photogerson and Ben Delfs. Below, Jodi recalls how she and Mark met, how their wedding came to life and gives some advice on planning your big day from overseas.

Mark and I met in Saudi Arabia where we both worked. Mark is English and I’m a local WA girl. We were friends, then went on our first date nine months after I moved to London. On that date we took a walk in Green Park and Mark got a blister from his new shoes. We sat down and he took his chance to kiss me and the rest was history!

When it came time to get married, Mark wanted a big wedding as he was only getting married once! I do not like being the centre of attention. We came to a happy medium of a laid-back rustic type theme at a very chilled winery. We just wanted an atmosphere of friends gathering to have a fab afternoon/evening in a beautiful location with great food wine and music!

The wedding took place on March 7, 2020 (just before the COVID lockdown) at Swings and Roundabouts Winery in Yallingup, WA.

Throughout the planning process I was able to make two three-day trips home to find my dress and view the winery! I am not a dress person and all I knew was that I wanted something light and comfortable to wear that I could enjoy all of our yummy food in! I found my dress at Samantha Wynne in Perth. Samantha helped me find the dress, did all of the alterations two weeks before the wedding and generally kept me calm about how I was going to look on the day! If any brides are wanting a personalised dress experience, then Samantha is your lady!

My bridesmaids wore burnt orange dresses from Goddess By Nature. The colour went so well with our laid-back rustic view, and it was the first bright colour that Mark liked so I ran with it!

My florist Nikki from Botanical Blooms delivered all of the bouquets and other flowers fresh on the day. My bouquet was spectacular. I had a large arrangement of natives combined with greenery and roses that Nikki had colour matched to my shoes and the bridesmaid dresses. She also set up all of the flowers and table decorations at the venue on the day. I had so many compliments on the flowers, I don’t think we could have chosen anyone better.

I wore my great nanna’s ring as my something old. I also had one of my grandma’s handkerchiefs in my bouquet.

Mark carried his grandad’s watch in his waistcoat.

For the groom’s attire, all I told Mark was no black as it would be hot! He was more bothered about everything matching and looking good than me! I think a large part of this is that he is English and likes things just so! In the end he chose navy trousers, white shirts and a navy and grey waistcoat with light blue ties. They looked great!

We had our ceremony and reception at Swings and Roundabouts Winery. We did not want separate venues and having the guests have to drive all over the place when they had already come from all over Australia and the world.

We chose the Margaret River Wine region in WA as I spent all of my childhood holidays there and it’s beautiful. Mark was keen on the idea of a winey and Swings had the relaxed feel that we wanted. Mark did not see it until the day before the wedding so thank goodness he liked it! Kaitlyn, Mindy and the team at Swings were wonderful and helped with all of the planning and making the day run smoothly. We wanted to be outside and discussed a marquee. We came across giant tipis from Yallingup Event Hire and Mark decided that’s what we were having. They turned out brilliantly. Hayley helped us organise all of the furnishings, the tipis, lighting, dancefloor and she did all of the set up for the day!

It was raining before the ceremony. Mark texted me while I was with my dad being driven to the venue and told me we would quickly do the legal part and then go undercover to read our vows. I lost it. The driver had to put up with my colourful language as I told him that in no uncertain terms would that be happening! If I was going to be romantic in public then everyone would be listening during the ceremony not later on when they had all started the celebrations! It all turned out alright though as when I pulled up the rain stopped, and we got the full outdoor ceremony we wanted!

I walked down the aisle to ‘Canon in D Major’ by Pachelbel as Mark loves classical music. Our DJ, Rob Southgate from Private Pickle, was brilliant. He organised the music for the whole day, was MC for us, and dealt with last minute speech requests! Our ceremony was super special because we made personal vows to each other which really meant a lot to me as I am quite practical, and this was my chance to show Mark I could be romantic.

We wanted a short meaningful ceremony I was dead set on having us create and read personal vows to each other. Our celebrant Caz Copeman helped us to create the ceremony and we each wrote our personal vows the night before the wedding! I loved Mark’s to me, and he was super surprised and loved mine. I even got all of my new in-laws crying when I borrowed a quote from Winston Churchill (Mark adores him!).

Mark’s favourite memory is walking back up the aisle holding my hand finally married and seeing the happy faces of all of our family and friends!

In remembrance of my grandad (my mum’s father) we chose a beautiful vintage soft top mustang as our wedding car. Lisa from Pop a Cork Tours was the driver, she had done a test drive to check the timing and put up with my rather uncouth stress during the drive as it was raining at the time! All was well though as we pulled up, the rain stopped, the sun came out and we had the outdoor ceremony we wanted!

Mark had his three brothers as his groomsmen: Adam, Jonathan and Tom. I had my sister Cassandra and two friends from when I used to work in Saudi Arabia: Ashley and Sarah. Unfortunately, due to COVID flight cancellations, Ashley was not able to make it from Canada to Australia so at the last minute my dear friend from Saudi Arabia, Sarah (and my current housemate in Abu Dhabi), stepped in and luckily the dress we had ordered for Ashley fit her!

Luke Gerson from Photogerson was our photographer. He was amazing. We both wanted more candid shots than posed. And we don’t like being photographed. We did a FaceTime call with him from Abu Dhabi (difficult as video calling is banned there) and he knew sunset time on the day we had chosen. He was the one for us. He also did an engagement shoot for us a couple of days before the wedding so we could get pics at sentimental spots for me from my childhood. He just blended seamlessly into the day and our pictures are everything we wanted.

On the day Luke worked as a team with our videographer Ben Delfs. Mark stated that we had to have a drone if we had a videographer and Ben sure did deliver his wish! Luke and Ben both blended into the background and were there for all of the candid shots and moments that we wanted captured. I could not recommend a better pair of blokes to capture the day!

Our styling was from Yallingup Event Hire. Hayley and her team were fantastic and for those having a destination wedding I highly recommend organising something like this so you can just enjoy your day!

Guests were also able to choose their own wedding favours from a trunk of Australian nick knacks that my sister had put together. We saw many of the guests the next day using their gifts, which we were really happy about!

We had chosen to have a feast style sit down dinner under the tipis. Every table had mains and sides and the guests could choose what they liked to eat. The food was amazing, and our guests loved the style of dinner as many had never experienced it before.

During the dinner my mum gave a speech and then unveiled her surprise. She had organised for a solo artist Karin Page to sing her song ‘Kings and Queens’ as a wedding present. Karin was kind enough to gift us a signed copy of the single after her performance!

Guests were able to take home cupcakes from our wedding cake. It was made for us by Summa Taylor from Sweet Stylin. We had a naked fruit cake and yummy lemon drizzle and red velvet cupcakes. Due to the time scale of us arriving in Australia for the wedding, we were not able to do a taste test which we were nervous about. But Summa was a champion and the cake and cupcakes were divine!

We chose ‘It’s a Wonderful World’ by Louis Armstrong for our first dance. It is a beautiful slow song and perfect for me as I am not the world’s best dancer! From there we went straight into ‘LOVE’ by Nat King Cole and then we danced the night away. The dancefloor was under the stars and all of the guests pulled out their best moves including my cousin showing us his version of ‘The Worm’!

Our last song was ‘My Way’ by Frank Sinatra, which is played at the end of many English weddings. It was a great end to the night and then our guests were transported back to the hotel by Gannaways. Mark and I joined the guests for the journey back and we all had a great sing along on the coach which was a perfect end to the evening!

Despite all of the difficulties of organising an international wedding, I would say to anyone wanting to do it just go for it. Trust your gut, go on recommendations from your major suppliers as they all tend to work together and know each other from the wedding circuit in the area.

Make sure you have a dedicated organiser on the day and have someone else to do the set up and take down so that you can enjoy your day.

Jodi and Mark’s wedding film by Benjamin Delfs

Ms Floral Says: Wow Jodi and Mark! A huge congratulations on pulling off such a stunning and joyful wedding from the other side of the world. I can feel your happiness radiating from your words and the incredible imagery. Wishing you both all the very best!

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Shannon & Peter

Shannon and Peter’s entire wedding day was steeped in Jewish tradition, from the ceremony, to the structure of the day and the Jewish dancing – which saw everyone in their immediate families hoisted on chairs, spun around and thrown through the air. The couple say a sense of love and family and friends was so important to them, and the fun, party vibe was incredibly special. There to capture the atmosphere and all the beautiful moments was The White Tree and Movement Productions. Shannon and Peter’s day also featured lots of little details that were unique to them as a couple. Below, Shannon takes us through the significance of these details and how her and Peter’s dream day came to be. 

I met Peter in Year Three when I moved to Melbourne, Australia. He and I were eight and seven years old respectively. We were in the same class for six months before I moved to Sydney and, although neither of us remembers this, I still have a letter from him that says he will “miss me when [I] move to Sydney forever”. Peter and I met again eight years later at summer camp and remained friends for years across states, fortified by our shared love of football, before we finally realised we wanted to be together and started dating long distance.

The bridal party were given special gifts throughout the engagement and on the wedding day. The groomsmen received face socks bearing the groom’s face to wear!

The groom chose a classic black dinner suit with silk lapels, worn with cufflinks passed down from his late grandfather. This suited the aesthetic of the event and the bride in its dual elegance and simplicity.

At our engagement party, I said a speech about what football cards – of all things – meant to our relationship, and how they represented our shared love of football and Peter’s romantic side. Before we were even together, and then for the many years we were long distance, Peter would buy me football cards to leave around the house, in my bag and in various places for me to find when we were apart. My sister-in-law Sammi, who is a designer, had the idea to create our invitations from this concept, and we delivered playful packs of football cards as invites that gave the wedding details, our “couple stats” and insight into our relationship. We then converted these cards into a signing book on the day, and mailed personalised ‘bonus collector cards’ as thank you notes. It was a meaningful and unique facet of our wedding.

A vendor that stands out to is my makeup artist and cousin Ashleigh Gaitz. Ashleigh is extraordinarily talented and has been doing my makeup since we were both young. She knew exactly what I wanted and executed it to perfection, and it was amazing to share that special moment between us as well.

My bridesmaids were gifted custom robes, makeup bags and hand-written cards.

I went to several stores in Melbourne and Sydney looking for my perfect dress and had decided on Pronovias as my brand of choice for their luxury, beautiful designs. I had almost chosen another dress when I decided to try out one more store and tried on the brand’s Elenco dress. I loved it so much I bought it on the spot. It offered the simplicity, regal aesthetic and exquisite detail I had been looking for, with intricate lace, heavy fabric, a ball gown silhouette and a long train with buttons down the entire dress. I paired the dress with a three-metre veil with complementary lace.

A special moment was my dress reveal for my family and the intimate family moment just between the four of us we were able to share. I know Peter and his family had a similar moment between them before the ceremony and how much it meant to all of us.

The aesthetic of the wedding was created around themes of simplicity and elegance, with both classic features and original details that showcased our personality as a couple. With the lakeside venue, the colour palette of the wedding was built on these natural hues, from the anchoring navy blues in the groomsmen ties to the bridesmaid dresses, which were collectively worn in a gradient of colours from blue to forest green.

The wedding took place on December 8, 2019, at Carousel in Albert Park, against the setting of the park, lake and city skyline. We were very lucky with a day of perfect weather, and we were married lakeside under ideal blue skies.

Carousel was the ideal venue for both the ceremony and reception, allowing for beautiful photos to be captured with ease and against a range of backdrops, whether in front of the venue’s green canopies, by the lake or in the park.

Peter and the groomsmen walked down the aisle to another special song to us as played by the band – ‘Angels Brought Me Here’ by Guy Sebastian.

The song that I, the bridesmaids and the flower girls and pageboys walked down the aisle to was ‘Feels Like Home’ by Randy Newman, played live and acoustically with guitar, piano and vocals. This song has always embodied our relationship and the sense of ease, comfort, safety and home we have always found in each other.

The floral features, including bouquets, centrepieces, ceremony decorations and a roof installation over the dance floor, were built around white roses, light blue delphiniums and silver dusty miller, matching the venue surroundings in their use of blue, silver and green tones.

The flower girls were given specialised flower crowns to complement their white, princess dresses.

The ceremony was a traditional Jewish ceremony conducted by Rabbi Daniel Rabin. This began with Peter and I seeing each other for the first time after a week apart, situated under a canopy of leaves as welcomed by our 250 guests, and a moving ceremony under the ‘chuppah’ by the lake. The rabbi touchingly spoke about the power of the home, of family and of the wedding itself in bringing together those we love, and even those we’ve lost, to bear witness to the new family that forms on the wedding day.

We had a very large bridal party, with seven groomsmen, nine bridesmaids, two pageboys and two flower girls. The bridal party consisted of siblings and an array of dear, longstanding friends, while the flower girls and pageboys were beloved and adorable cousins. This legendary bridal party gave the event all their love and energy to set the incredible tone felt from all the guests throughout the day.

Matthew from The White Tree was our photographer. His sense of calm ensured not only productive photo sessions, but daytime and sunset sessions that were some of our favourite moments of the day.

The reception followed immediately after the ceremony at the same venue, with an entrée buffet for guests during couple, family and bridal party photos before a sit-down dinner and dancing.

The Baker Boys Band provided the music. They were talented, versatile and happy to accommodate any request for both the party vibe of the reception and the moving ceremony music.

The delicious catering by Food and Desire was lauded by our guests and the flowers by Balwyn Events were exactly as we wanted with total opulence and creativity at a great price point.

A wonderfully unique feature was our personalised cake topper. Made by That Little Nook, the cake topper was created exactly to our likeness, with our wedding outfits correct to every detail, worn with our dual football scarves to show more of our relationship personality.

Personal thought was given to every aspect of the event, from the important music choices and playlist, which I worked with the band to ensure included all our classic and modern favourites, to the menu, which offered absolute favourite foods of mine and Peter – including gnocchi, pavlova and chocolate mousse.

The theme and atmosphere of the wedding was one united by our love for each other and our love of family and friends, prevalent in every moment of the day. One hundred of our 250 guests had travelled from interstate or overseas, for which we were so grateful. From the traditional Jewish dances – known as ‘horas’ – and dancing on the deck under the stars, a loving, party atmosphere also pervaded the event.

Our first dance showcased unique aspects of our relationship. The mash up of songs was comprised of ‘As Long As You Love Me’ by The Backstreet Boys, which we had always loved since dancing to it in the car on one of many airport trips early on in our relationship and which we always wanted in our first dance. The second song was ‘Go, Go, Go Joseph’ from the musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, a song that we sing each other on hard or stressful days. Our choreographer and dance teacher Rebecca Abelman fused these fun and meaningful songs to us into a dance that personified our relationship and sparked an even greater party atmosphere at the wedding.

Looking back on the day, I thought I had planned and even over-planned for every eventuality, but some things will still go differently to how you expect, and it will still be the best day ever. Don’t be tied to the perfection you’ve planned in your mind because then you’ll lose sight of the fact that the day itself, even with a modicum of unpredictability, is perfect.

Wade Gardiner at Movement Productions was our cinematographer on the day. We had seen the skill and artistry Wade uses in his videos and knew we had to have him for the wedding, even though it meant him travelling from Adelaide for the occasion. His professionalism and talent made that decision easy and worthwhile.

Ms Floral Says: Congratulations Shannon and Peter! Your day looked absolutely joyous, and I adore all the personal and traditional touches you incorporated. Wishing you both all the very best on your journey as husband and wife.

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