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Adam & Bron

Our photographers Bronnie and Adam from Craven Images

There is something different about the excitement that fuels wedding plans. It’s a completely different excitement to, say, when you finish school/university, get a new job or go somewhere on a holiday. From the minute you’re engaged, it’s like the wedding powers that be have granted you access into a whole new world of ideas, possibilities and dreams.  I was the kind of bride-to-be who took this on as if someone had just given me an unlimited credit card and said “go for your life”… how I bet every bride-to-be wishes they had that credit card!

Our wedding planning journey started with a conversation between Mr Tagg and I about what we wanted our big day to be like. From the atmosphere, theme/vibe and location ideas to timing, scale and dates – we discussed it all. The thing we decided on first was to choose a photographer before anything else. To us, photographers are the ones who see it all – the venues, the DJ’s, the flowers, the photo locations, the ideas, etc. We figured if we could find a photographer we loved, then the planning would be smooth sailing from there on – and it has been! We were so lucky to have found Bronnie and Adam at Craven Images within one month of looking. We arranged to meet with them for half an hour, ended up staying for three – if we hadn’t booked them as our photographers, we probably would have invited them as guests!

We then decided a winter wedding in a rural setting suit us perfectly – simple, elegant, yet understated and all about good company, good food and good memories to share. The minute we walked in to Centennial Vineyards in Bowral, we felt at home. Not only was the food to die for, but they had everything we needed – a great courtyard for the ceremony, beautiful grounds for photography, and a killer restaurant with incredible staff and big warm fireplaces. What’s best is the fact we’ve had 18 months to plan, and we’ve booked everything we wanted, had time to make sure we didn’t break the budget, and not once have we regretted a decision. A tip to all those yet-to-be-engaged ladies out there – give yourself time and space to plan if you’re not one for on-the-spot, snap decisions, and you won’t regret it.  Regardless of your budget, wedding planning should be enjoyable, not stressful. There will be stressful moments (i.e. guest lists are a common “eek” moment amongst couples and families), but the process in its entirety won’t be stressful. Take your time to figure out what you both want, and research – you’ll also get the best deals.

So, the big day is just over six weeks away, and I can safely say that wedding planning has been one of the greatest experiences I have had – and to be planning with my best friend and future husband is a true joy.  Stay tuned for more of our planning adventures in the lead up to our August nuptials!

Photography by Craven Images

Ms Gingham says: I love winter weddings! I think photographers do to because the lighting is just right to capture beautiful images. Thanks Rachael for sharing your plans (and advice) with us!

About Rachael: A bride-to-be from the South Coast (NSW), engaged to a charming accountant (Mr. Tagg) who is a very proactive Groom-to-be, planning our dream wedding in Bowral.

Read more from Mrs Tagg-to-be here.

Read more about the benefits of winter wedding photography here.

Polka Dot Bride Shop

Darren and Narelle

Darren and I had a native Australian theme which was perfect for us because we really wanted a casual, laid back wedding that reflected our style. I was lucky enough to work for a company that actually built The Aqua Resort and it officially opened the weekend of our wedding. It’s an amazing location right on the beach in beautifully landscaped native gardens. Because it was a resort we made the wedding into a big family holiday, with both sides our family staying there for a week, before going on our honeymoon.

A lot of the wedding was DIY. From the decorations, to the dessert buffet, invitations, makeup and flowers. I actually borrowed the designs for my stationery from another Polka Dot Bride (Yolanda and Ben). I bought all the paper and stamps from Stamp-It. I then used my colour printer to print them and cut them up. I also made Save the Dates, Accommodation Suggestion Cards, Map of the Area, Invitations and RSVP’s. I didn’t have wedding favors, however when my guests RSVP’d I asked them to nominate a song they liked. I then had the DJ play those songs during the night so everyone would be happy. As a thank you I then made a CD compilation of all these songs, plus our first dance song. I put one of our photos on the CD and cover of the CD and posted them out with thank you notes. That way everyone could play the CD and think of our wedding.

I loved getting to use my arty side which I hadn’t used since high school. I purchased native flowers and fillers from the local IGA. I bought the flowers a few days prior – natives have a long life expectancy so were ideal for carting down south. I arranged them to make the bridal bouquet, the flowers at the reception and I also used them to decorate bamboo tee-pee poles at the ceremony.

We all did our make up ourselves. I went to my favourite make up supplier, prior and they showed me how to put my makeup on and I purchased what we needed. Our hair was done by Fiona at “I Do” Hair. My dress was by Aurelio Costarella. Bridesmaids gowns were from Morrison and Picnic.

Darren and the groomsmen wore suits from Country Road.

My husband and his mates are big cricket fans, so the photo shoot we did playing cricket was great. We forgot the photographer was there and managed to play around for about half an hour. It was really good to get that time with our best friends on such an important day.

We held the ceremony at Shelley Cove, Bunker Bay (South West WA). The boys set the decorations up on the day with bamboo poles from Bunnings, held together with twine and flowers draped down them (I made these up day before and the boys put these out on the day). We also bought some hessian from Bunnings which we used as a natural aisle runner on the sand. The location was absolutely gorgeous and even though I didn’t get to see it, the guests were entertained by whales while they were waiting for me to arrive. A lucky sign apparently. Our celebrant was Lynne Lawson (0419 939 010) who came down from Perth to perform the ceremony. We kept it short and sweet and used a Killers song for our vows (music is very important to me). I did put my husbands ring on the wrong hand which everyone found amusing. I eventually got it right though.

The reception was at the resort and was set up the day before. I bought lanterns from Ikea and Ebay to decorate the marquee. They were strung up with natural twine. I bought LED candles off ebay and hung them inside the lantern with fishing wire to light them up. I also collected jars for months leading up to the wedding … (found them all for free on Gumtree). We also bought fairy lights from Bunnings and strung them up in the trees around the marquee.

Bought blackboard pieces from Bunnings and one of my very talented bridesmaids did the writing for the sign boards.

Our caterer, Saul Atkinson (0409 888 600), made the cake, pavlovas and lemon tarts. I made mousse shots, rum balls and cheese platters the night before and I purchased drink stirrers and cake flags from Etsy to decorate the desserts. I also bought lollies and biscuits to fill up the dessert buffet. I bought doilies and lace table cloths from The Good Sammy’s and borrowed some from the Darren’s Nanna. These were used to decorate the wine barrels which we used as coffee and bar tables and the side tables (which I bought on Gumtree from a previous Bride who had used them at her wedding).

I bought a glass drink dispenser from the US and pre-made a Pimms Cocktail for everyone to help themselves too. We also bought metal drink containers from Bunnings and filled them with beer, wine and soft drink for the night, so guests could help themselves. We set up a cocktail bar and we provided the wait person with cocktail recipes to make for everyone. I selected all the music for the reception and gave the list to the DJ.

You definitely need to have a plan, be organised and have vision (think outside the box). And most of all you need great family and friends to help setup. While I did all the work leading up to the day by myself, our family and bridal party all helped to pull it together on the day. Without them I wouldn’t have gotten it all done. We did a dry run the day before and I took photos so when we went to set it all up on the morning of the wedding everyone knew where things needed to go.

Everything was perfect, and our guests are still raving about it. We didn’t have any formalities (except for cutting the cake just to keep my Dad happy). Basically it was just one big party.

Photography by Yoram Conradt

Ms Gingham says: What a lovely affair! This wedding is full of fun and happiness. Thanks to Narelle for sharing it with us and to Yoram Conradt for the lovely images.

Narelle says: “I really enjoyed all the DIY aspects of the wedding planning itself as I had forgotten how much fun being creative is. My husband would probably disagree, given the amount of ideas I had and the fact that I wanted to do everything myself. I found that by choosing to do a lot myself the day truly reflected our casual, no fuss, yet sometimes quirky, style”.

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James and Rhiannon

James and I had been together for four years before we finally tied the knot! There was always a strict budget which kept us from making the big step into marriage. Luckily with the generosity of family we were able to finally start planning our special day.  We wanted the wedding to be relaxing, sincere and reflect us as a couple. Because we plan on doing a lot of travel together in the future we decided to incorporate a “travel theme” as well as classic and elegant elements.

The morning of the wedding day was all about relaxation! My mother-in-law allowed us to get ready at her beautiful house and even put on yummy snacks and gorgeous cupcakes for us to nibble on.

I found my dress the very first time I went looking in Tuscany Bridal. The moment I put it on I knew it was the dress for me! My mother-in-law and Nanna who came with me were astonished as it was total opposite of what I said I had wanted!

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The bridesmaids looked gorgeous in their dresses, from Forever New and shoes, from Diva Peeptoes in Fuschia from Betts. I wanted the girls to have an outfit they would wear again so I let them choose their own dresses and shoes, I wasn’t fussed whether they matched or not. Although I think they are slightly more traditional than me as they opted to have matching dresses and shoes anyway! The groom and groomsmen wore  very dashing suits from Penguin Formal Wear. The flowers were designed by Jules Flower Farm ((08) 9257 2876). I had my heart set on peonies but unfortunately they were a wee bit too expensive for our budget! The lovely Cait suggested dolcevita roses and carnations instead and they were luscious!

Our celebrant was Jill Barnes who was so amazing! She was flawless at leading us two giddy adults through the ceremony. James and I wrote our own vows and it was hard not to get choked up hearing James say his to me!

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We had both the ceremony and the reception at the Mt Lawley Golf Club. Because it was a golf club we were only able to get married at 5pm (so as not to disrupt the golfers) so we ended up having our photos before the ceremony. James and I decided to have our first look and photos in Fremantle as that’s where our first date was! If I could recommend anything to brides planning their wedding, it would be to have the photos before the ceremony. Spending the better part of the day laughing and joking with dear friends made everything so relaxed and joyous.

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The reception was created with the help of  a beautiful family friend and James’ family. I designed and made the seating plan, table names and place cards. The tables were named after places we wanted to visit and the place cards were vintage post cards we bought from Ebay and I decorated with Japanese Tape. The exquisite cake was a wedding gift from family friends and it tasted as good as it looked! I feel so blessed to have such talented and generous family and friends who took so much time out to create the centerpieces and organise the day so James and I could have a stress free wedding.

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One of my favourite parts of the wedding was the speeches (so hard to choose!). My dad gave a short and sweet speech with a beautiful message that “being married is a better place to be” while my mother-in-law had every one in tears with her heartfelt and emotional words. So many people told me how fast the day goes but I didn’t believe them until the day was over!

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Photos by Aksent Photography

Ms Gingham says: I love the idea of postcards as place cards. Travel is so romantic and such a fitting theme for a wedding! Thanks to Rhiannon and James for sharing their wedding with us. Now I’m wondering where they went on their honeymoon?

Rhiannon describes herself as: “A day dreamer who loves her husband, photography and Australian summers.”