K&Y, by Raoul Tackelburg

An intimate  garden wedding today sprinkled with sweet Japanese touches. The outside venue with the background of gum trees adds a breeziness and freshness to the photos by Raoul Tackelburg.

Yuichi and I met at university in Japan, 5 years ago. Yuichi proposed at a beautiful spa resort near Mt Fuji – it was so romantic!

My white lace dress was from Collette Dinnigan. It was the first shop I went into, and when I tried on my dress and they placed a veil in my hair I started to cry! My sister laughed at me as it was such a surprise – the first dress I tried on was ‘the one’! My peep-toe shoes were from Alan Pinkus.

K&Y Wedding

K&Y Wedding

I handmade boutonnieres and wrist corsages from vintage white silk kimono fabric in Japan in the months leading up to the wedding. They gave a Japanese touch for the wedding, and also helped to avoid any wilting from real flowers in the summer heat!

K&Y wedding

On the day of our wedding, I got up early and went up to my sister’s house to get ready while Yuichi got ready at the hotel. When Yuichi saw me off, we decided not to kiss so that it would really feel like our ‘first kiss’ at the ceremony (first for the day anyway!). It was so exciting, and certainly made it that much more special!

Once I arrived at my sister’s house, we set to work on my hair and makeup. My sister also made the final touches to the white silk tulle veil that she had made.

K&Y Wedding

K&Y wedding

K&Y Wedding

K&Y Wedding

K&Y Wedding

K&Y wedding

We wanted to have a relaxed outdoor wedding, and have the ceremony and reception in walking distance from each other. Centennial Parklands was perfect! The ceremony chairs, white wrought iron signing table setting and champagne flutes were all provided by Frolic Events.

My Dad walked me down the aisle, and as we got closer and could hear the music, I had to stop and ask him for a tissue. As I had been living in Japan for 8 years, I hadn’t seen many of my friends in such a long time. It was such a wonderful feeling to see everyone again!

K&Y, by Raoul Tackelburg

K&Y, by Raoul Tackelburg

Our wonderful celebrant was Pauline Fawkner. Yuichi and I had personalised our vows with help from Pauline, and both our eldest sisters did a reading titled “Marriage Joins Two People in the Circle of Its Love” by Edmund O’Neill. Yuichi’s sister translated the reading into Japanese, so we could absorb the meaning of the words in both our languages.

K&Y, by Raoul Tackelburg

K&Y, by Raoul Tackelburg

K&Y, by Raoul Tackelburg

K&Y, by Raoul Tackelburg

K&Y, by Raoul Tackelburg

K&Y, by Raoul Tackelburg

K&Y, by Raoul Tackelburg

K&Y, by Raoul Tackelburg

K&Y, by Raoul Tackelburg

I had planned to make my own flowers the day before the wedding, but there were so many things to do and I was running out of time. In between chores we ran into Tulipanna – they were so friendly and had such beautiful flowers, I jumped at their offer to make my posy and reception flowers! I carefully tied the locket around my posy as my ‘something old’ and carried a delicate blue handkerchief as my ‘something blue’, which had both been passed down to my mum from her great-grandmother.

K&Y, by Raoul Tackelburg

My friend delivered Strawbellini sparkling wine from her strawberry farm as a special gift for the toast after the ceremony.

K&Y, by Raoul Tackelburg

Music was provided by Sydney Wedding Music. I walked down the aisle to ‘The Mission’, and Jane Hart sang ‘Just Like a Star’ by Corinne Bailey Rae during the signing. I wish I could go back to those moments and listen to the music again!

K&Y, by Raoul Tackelburg

After the ceremony, our photographer Raoul Tackelburg whisked us away in his car for some photos in the pine forest in Centennial Park, and then to Paddington across the road for some photos on the beautiful old tree-lined streets. Yuichi and I loved having this time just the two of us!

K&Y, by Raoul Tackelburg


K&Y, by Raoul Tackelburg

K&Y, by Raoul Tackelburg

K&Y, by Raoul Tackelburg

K&Y, by Raoul Tackelburg

There was just a light breeze, but my veil was so fine that it drifted up as we were walking and caught on the tree. I could feel it catch and said “Yuichi!” and he came quickly to try and gently lift it off. Meanwhile Raoul was snapping with the camera and saying “Great! Hold it there!” and I was thinking my sister is going to kill me! Amazingly there wasn’t any damage and we got some great candid shots:)

K&Y, by Raoul Tackelburg

K&Y, by Raoul Tackelburg

K&Y, by Raoul Tackelburg

While Yuichi and I were having photos, everyone enjoyed the sparkling wine and chatting by the Lily Pond and then walked up to Centennial Parklands Dining restaurant for the lunch reception. The restaurant is such a beautiful venue, and as we had an intimate wedding we decided to have a group booking using half of the restaurant, rather than exclusive use. This actually suited us perfectly, as we weren’t planning on having many of the traditional wedding elements such as speeches, dancing or a wedding cake. We had a gorgeous  menu, toasts from our parents, a fun quiz about the bride and groom, and lots of time to relax and catch up with our families and friends.

K&Y, by Raoul Tackelburg

We really wanted to create a fun and relaxed environment where the kids could enjoy the wedding and look back on the day with good memories. We made kids goodie bags including a white DIY puzzle, notebook, pens and cut-out books all from Muji in Japan. We personalised each item with printed stickers and messages, and also included muesli bars which turned out to be a real hit for their hungry tummies when they arrived at the reception! Our deep ocean blue and mint vintage design, customised and downloaded from Wedding Chicks, was carried throughout our DIY invitations, place cards, kids goodie bags, table numbers, and bride and groom signs.

K&Y Wedding

K&Y Centennial Parklands Dining

K&Y Centennial Parklands Dining

As we had a lunch reception, we made photobooks for each table instead of a slideshow.

K&Y, by Raoul Tackelburg

K&Y, by Raoul Tackelburg

K&Y, by Raoul Tackelburg

The food was divine – everyone loved the pavlova! It was quite funny, as we had by coincidence had pavlova for Christmas Day and Boxing Day as well, so in the end Yuichi’s family thought Australians eat pavlova every day of the week! This one might have been the winner though!

K&Y Centennial Parklands Dining

After the reception, Yuichi and I rode away in a Mercedes convertible from HF Wedding Cars.

K&Y Wedding

We are so grateful to our families for all their help on our wedding day. We didn’t have a wedding planner, so we couldn’t have done it without them! Particularly a big thank you to my brothers-in-law who coordinated everything in the morning and also MC’d at the reception. Thank you!

Ms Polka Dot says: Kate and Yuichi’s charming wedding is such a great example of intertwining two cultures in a meaningful yet restrained way. Their happiness is so plain for everyone to see! Congratulations Kate and Yuichi on your wedding and thank you for sharing your day with us.

Photography by Raoul Tackelburg


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.

Brian and Ashley

My husband, Brian, and I were married on September 18 at an art gallery in San Francisco called Terra Venue:  Terra.  The whole day was such an emotional whirlwind for me.  I cried, we laughed, everyone clapped.  I don’t even think there are words to describe the roller coaster of emotions and adrenaline I felt that day – all I wanted to do when it was over was hug every single one of our guests (and I think I might have by the end of the night!)  But I think my favourite part of the night was watching all of our guests rock out at our reception while wearing the neon pink “visions of love” holographic glasses we had given them as favors – priceless!

I planned on spending the morning of my wedding day with my bridesmaids, having brunch, drinking champagne, and making our bouquets with the flowers I had bought at the SF Flower Mart the day before. However, when I woke up that morning I found that none of the flowers I had bought had opened over night as I had been told they would! Luckily, we had taken home a bunch of the centre pieces from the rehearsal dinner, and after a minor freak out, and some major improvisation, we had 6 ad hoc bridesmaid bouquets! Not quite the relaxing morning I had planned, but once we climbed into the limo and popped some champagne, we were back on track! We stopped at the Lyon Street Stairs to snap some pics before heading to the venue.

My dress was designed by Atelier Aimee and purchased at Glamour Closet in San Francisco. Bridesmaids’ dresses were from Lulus.

All of the decor was hand made by my mom, my bridesmaids, and myself. We tried to keep it simple and modern, and budget-friendly. For the ceremony, my mom and I arranged birch branches and orchid stems in large vases to flank the “altar” and we created a chandelier out of CB2 hanging glass balls.

Brian and I chose not to see each other before the ceremony, and my heart was beating so fast when the curtains parted and I saw Brian.  What I felt then was completely overwhelming, indescribable, and a feeling that I will cherish forever. Brian wore a suit from Theory.

I walked down the aisle to a Ryan Wiles’ piano version of Death Cab for Cutie’s “I Will Follow You Into the Dark,” a song with special meaning for Brian and I.

Our ceremony was performed by one of our closest friends, and two of our other friends did readings for us.  One of the readings was from a book of love letters between John and Abigail Adams called “My Dearest Friend” which Brian had given me years before, and the other was a passage that our friend chose himself.

We wrote our vows to each other in the form of alternating promises, but as a nod to tradition, each promise centered around one of the traditional vows.

We struggled a lot with trying to structure a ceremony that reflected our love for each other and our personal vision of marriage, while still respecting our families’ traditions, and in the end, our ceremony was intensely personal and absolutely perfect.

After the ceremony, I felt like I was so filled with love for everyone around me that I wasn’t sure if I was crying or laughing! Our rings (with each other’s fingerprints in them) were from Fabuluster via Etsy.

Besides designing our ceremony, another of our priorities in planning the wedding was the food!  We chose (the fabulous) Back to Earth Catering.  Since Brian and I met while at school in the South, we served up a Southern meal of fried chicken, hush puppies, cheddar biscuits, mac n’ cheese with smoked ham and veggies with bourbon BBQ sauce, with a Bay Area organic twist.   Our menu choices may not have been traditional or expected for an art gallery venue, but really, is there ever a bad time for fried chicken?

We also really wanted to keep our reception fun, light-hearted, and goofy.  To this end, on each person’s plate setting, we placed a customized crossword puzzle that I made with questions about me and Brian for our guests to fill out, and a pair of “visions of love” glasses, which are holographic glasses that turn lights into hearts!

For the reception decor, my mom, my bridesmaids and I bought and arranged flowers for the centre pieces, and I spray painted wine bottles in metallic colours to use as vases. I interspersed moss balls and white ceramic bird vases to add a little interest. On our welcome table, we displayed pictures from our parents’ and grandparents’ weddings, and had a book of our engagement photos as the guest book.


Our first dance was to ‘Beyond the Sea’ by Frank Sinatra, and my father and I danced to the Viennese Waltz.  I thought I would feel self-conscious and awkward dancing in front of all those people, but in the moment, I felt like I was floating.

We had a small cake brought by one of our family friends, and a variety of mini desserts and a candy bar for our guests.  And Brian really did smear cake all over my face! A surprise for sure, but also hilarious (in hindsight at least)!

Our photographs were taken by Leonel Medrano and Iris Bai, family friends and photography students. We could not have been happier with their work!

As a word of advice to those still planning, I would say to focus on designing a day that is truly a reflection of your relationship and your values, rather than one that fits into a certain “color” or “theme.”  If your wedding rings true to who you are as a couple, it will not only be special to you, but also to all of your guests.  And try to look past all the technicalities in the planning process and embrace your wedding for what it really is – the one day you have a license to be openly, shamelessly in love for everyone to see, as cheesy as that may be.

Ms Polka Dot says: Wow – Ashley’s wedding dress, the bright pop of rich yellow of her bridesmaids’ dresses and the gallery venue that says this wedding is contemporary and so much a reflection of the bride and groom! Congratulations on your wedding Ashley and Brian and thank you for sharing your day with us.

Ashley says: I am a law student and newlywed living in the San Francisco Bay Area. I met my husband, Brian, while in college at Duke University in North Carolina, and after graduation, we moved back to our home state of California. In my free time, I am an amateur photographer, painter, decorator, and a lover of all things pretty.

Photography:  Leonel Medrano and Iris Bai


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.

Kelly & Rangi 001

My sister Kelly and brother-in-law Rangi are a rare and very special couple.  They have been together 22 years, high school sweethearts who have managed to navigate the speed bumps and potholes of life’s relationship road quite nicely – they just took the scenic route, that’s all!

They got married in a beautifully low-key affair at Kamay Botany Bay National Park (NSW) in front of their loving families, loyal friends and gorgeous 14-year-old son Keanan who is just the apple of his mum and dad’s eye.  As you can imagine everyone was absolutely stoked this day had finally come around.

Ceremony images by friend & photographer Kelly Senior ([email protected]) who has done an amazing job capturing the soul of Kelly & Rangi’s wedding.  Reception photos are bride’s own.

Kelly & Rangi 002Kelly & Rangi 003

Kelly & Rangi 004

Kelly and Rangi wanted a warm & intimate get together where family and friends could just relax and have fun, so a beach ceremony and garden reception at home suited their laid back style perfectly. They also wanted to incorporate their Maori (NZ) heritage which is one of the reasons they chose their ceremony site, it looks directly out over the ocean to New Zealand.

Kelly & Rangi were a very budget conscious couple so they decided to do everything themselves.  This real “home made” affair was quite an undertaking but with those closest to them each contributing in their own small but very important way, made it a uniquely amazing day.  Kelly sourced Ebay, garage sales or made things herself, she is very creative and sure knows what she wants which was reflected in her wedding, it was truly her.

Kelly & Rangi 005

Photographer Wedding pics 021

Kelly & Rangi 007Kelly & Rangi 008

Kelly & Rangi 009

Kelly’s beach inspired dress was by Lisa Brown from LaLuna Boutique Cronulla.  I remember the day she came home with it, so excited then proceeded to unveil a completely different dress from the one she’d originally chosen!  I couldn’t believe it but that’s my sis and she looked perfect in it, again truly her.  Jen Worger did a gorgeous job of Kelly’s hair and makeup and her shoes were her “something borrowed” from our niece, they both have tiny feet!  Kelly’s wishing well was hired from Devine Eventions (0449551754).

Kelly & Rangi 010
Kelly & Rangi 011

Kelly & Rangi 012

Kelly & Rangi 013

Kelly & Rangi 014

The bridesmaid’s dresses were an absolute steal from Tree of Life and our boys were casually attired in Country Road.

Kelly & Rangi 016

Kelly & Rangi 015

For the reception Kelly wanted to create a casual but stylish atmosphere so she sprinkled the garden with fairy lights, hung festoon lights from the big willow and draped beautiful heart shaped ornaments from the branches of trees.  It all came together with the help of family and friends who worked tirelessly the eve of the wedding, adding the finishing touches on the day.  Kelly hand made the hanging driftwood & beach shell ornaments and the amazing table centre pieces herself.  We spent hours leading up to the wedding scouring the beach for shells, driftwood and collecting sand.  Kelly ended up giving most of these away to her guests, they loved them so much!  Their Maori heritage was an important feature here with the mihi mihi (speeches) waiata (songs) & karakia (blessings & prayers), honestly there wasn’t a dry eye in the place at times.

Kelly & Rangi 017

Kelly & Rangi 019

Kelly & Rangi 020

Kelly & Rangi 021

Kelly & Rangi 022

Not sticklers for tradition, Kelly and Rangi filled their day with their own special touches.  Their son Keanan and our mum Lynne walked Kelly down the aisle to “So In Love With You” by UNV sung by a cousin & accompanied on the guitar by a family friend.  Keanan’s role was particularly significant as he stood in for his poppy (our dad) whom we sadly lost to cancer last year.

Kelly & Rangi 025

Kelly & Rangi 026

Kelly & Rangi 027

The flowers Kelly chose were also poignant as they represented our Dad Wiki, wild daisies grow on the mountainside where he is buried.  We missed him so much that day but felt surrounded by him in the simplest of ways – the glorious weather, the simple bouquets made by the groom’s sister and the reception flowers arranged by our mum and aunty in rustic tin buckets and jam jars decorated with raffia.  Big UPS also to my mum, youngest sister and her fiancé who were up at the crack of dawn buying flowers at the Sydney Flower Markets!

Kelly & Rangi 028

Kelly & Rangi 029

Kelly & Rangi 031

Friend & marriage celebrant Keryn McWhinney (0411157494) who was just amazing , married them under a beautiful bamboo canopy made by the groom.  The bamboo, raffia and aisle runner were supplied by Beautiful Beach Weddings.

Kelly & Rangi 032

Kelly & Rangi 033

Kelly & Rangi 034

Rangi’s mum then blessed the marriage with a karakia (prayer) and the bridesmaids serenaded the signing of the registrar with “Angel of Mine” by Monica.

Kelly & Rangi 035

Kelly & Rangi 036

Kelly & Rangi 030

Kelly & Rangi 037

Kelly & Rangi had photos taken with each and every guest immediately after the ceremony, it was important to them to have a memento of everyone who shared in their day.

Kelly & Rangi 038

Kelly & Rangi 039

Kelly & Rangi 040

Kelly & Rangi 041

Kelly & Rangi 042

Kelly & Rangi 043

Kelly & Rangi 044

The groom’s family cooked our delicious buffet, the fresh NZ seafood and home made fried bread were scrumptious!  Kelly says the two wait staff she hired from All Complete Cater & Hire Services were worth the splurge as they did a fantastic job keeping family & friends out of the kitchen.  The wedding cake was made up of their favourite chocolate brownies from Muffin Break Miranda and went down an absolute treat with guests taking them home to enjoy later. A close friend made the yummy wedding cake topper.

Kelly & Rangi 045

Kelly & Rangi 046

Kelly & Rangi 023

Kelly & Rangi 024

Kelly & Rangi 018

Kelly & Rangi 047

I think the only curve ball Kelly & Rangi were thrown was the weather. The week leading up to the wedding it absolutely bucketed down and was described as the “wettest December in 50 years!” Take note ladies, ALWAYS have a plan B. Again, family and friends and my unwavering brother-in-law came to the rescue erecting a tarpaulin so Kelly’s vision for her garden party could become a reality. Something my sister says she will never forget is Rangi taking her aside amongst all the chaos and his kind words of reassurance “Don’t worry babe, all the rain is just your dad watering the garden so everything will be nice and green. He’ll look after us, have faith”. And to our delight the next morning, the sun was shining and the day couldn’t have been better, in fact it was PERFECT!

Kelly & Rangi 048

Kelly & Rangi 049

Kelly & Rangi 050

Kelly & Rangi 051

Kelly & Rangi 052

Kelly & Rangi 053

Kelly & Rangi 054

Kelly & Rangi 055

I hope Kelly and Rangi’s photos capture the feelings of pure joy that exuded from the whole day because as corny as it sounds, I truly can’t put it into words.  Everyone was “feelin the love” as they say and many of Kelly and Rangi’s guests have commented on how it was just an “amazing” day. I too hope to aspire to the real and enduring love that my sister has found.  Even as my “little” sister I think she’s taught me a lesson or two on how two people, through hard work and real love can create a happy and loving life together.  Kudos to you my little sis!

Kelly & Rangi 056
Kelly & Rangi 057

Kelly & Rangi 058

Kelly & Rangi 059

Kelly & Rangi 060

Kelly & Rangi 061

Kelly & Rangi 062

Kelly & Rangi 063

Kelly & Rangi 064

Kelly & Rangi 065

Kelly & Rangi 066

Kelly & Rangi 067

Kelly & Rangi 068

Kelly & Rangi 069

Kelly & Rangi 070

Ms Polka Dot says: Their love for each other, and family and friends shines out from the photos of Kelly and Rangi’s wedding. Thank you Tracy for sharing so beautifully, your sister’s wedding with us. Congratulations Kelly and Rangi on your wedding!

Tracy says: I am a busy mum of two small boys who have certainly kept me out of trouble these past few years! And as my two main men tottle off to school I look forward to this new year as a journey of self rediscovery both personally and professionally – bring it on 2011!

Photography by Kelly Senior ([email protected])


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.