Husband and Wife

Matt and I met at the movie theater. After our first date, I called a friend and told her he was the man I would marry. One morning, ten months later, I woke up and started finding little notes around the house with reasons why he loved me written on them. Note number 10 was held by him asking me to spend my life with him. We had a whirl wind romance and were excited for the big day.

We knew we wanted our wedding to be intimate with homespun warmth.  We decided on a beautiful country location, Armstrong Farms, in Saxonburg, PA (USA). Our venue was a vintage restored barn. Next to our venue was a farm with cows we heard mooing while we read our vows. That gave our guests a real treat. We even took pictures with the cows.

The wedding became something of a DIY affair.  We had so much fun working on the details together with friends and family. Everything from our cake topper to our invitations was hand made.  Our cake topper was designed to look just like us. We printed all of the paper items on our color printer.  Many mistakes were made with the cutting board giving each item unique imperfections. Centerpieces were hand painted and put together one piece of wheat at a time. Our family even made dozens of cookies and candies, a Pittsburgh wedding tradition.

The night before the wedding, the wedding party helped us decorate the barn and set up for the ceremony. My sister and mother made a home cooked dinner for the rehearsal. We sat on the deck and had a relaxing evening full of good food and wine.

The ceremony was held outside on a hill under a hand painted and flower covered garden gazebo. The chairs going down the aisle had Gerber daisies in mason jars beside them. My father walked me down the aisle and hugged my husband before he gave me away. At the end of the ceremony, the preacher introduced us as husband and wife because he could not seem remember our last name. That memory always makes me smile, now that I have a hard-to-pronounce last name.


The reception was so much fun. The food was amazing and we served cupcakes from one of our favorite bakeries, which we still visit to celebrate every milestone in our lives. We danced the night away, sang, and shared some fun memories.

Our First Dance

We danced to the Shania Twain and Bryan White duet, “From This Moment”.


Here comes the Bride

Finally Married


Lost in the weeds

Sneaking away for a quiet moment.


How High Can You Go

Our crazy bridal party!

Cake Topper

Our cake topper was designed to look like us.

Silly Groom

The best part of our wedding was the amount of friends and family who traveled to celebrate with us. Some, who we haven’t seen in a long time, came just for us.  From the toasts, to the first dance, to the after party, every element was perfect. We were able to spend quality time with every single person at our wedding, which made us feel loved that day.

Sunset Pictures

Wedding Details

  • Where the wedding was heldArmstrong Farms, Saxonburg, PA
  • Photographer – Gene Yuger, Photorise
  • Wedding DressGalina (available through David’s Bridal)
  • Flowers – Bittner Florist
  • Cupcakes Oakmont Bakery
  • Cake Topper – Naked Peggies

Ms Polka Dot says: There’s just something about ‘country’ weddings –  with the beauty of the surroundings adding to the beauty of the day. Congratulations Crystal and Matt on your wedding! And thank you for sharing your lovely wedding with us!

My name is Crystal, I’m 30 years old and from a large family. I’m the youngest of 10! My husband and I live in Pittsburgh, PA. We both work in the technology field. Also, we are in the process of fixing up our cozy two bedroom house so we can sell and start looking for a new bigger house. I love interior design and spend a better part of my day looking at design blogs. I can’t wait to get a new house and start ripping it apart and making it a home. My favourite cocktail? A Blue Hawaii Cocktail, yummy! We served them at our wedding.

Photography by Gene Yuger at Photorise


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James and I met through a mutual friend and instantly connected over our shared sense of humour. I always joked that he “knew my every reference”. Whilst we enjoyed a great friendship, the stars would not align until three years later when in 2005 and James finally confessed his feelings in a crowded St Kilda nightspot and we’ve barely spent a day apart since. James proposed in 2008 and we began planning our 2010 nuptials.

One night whilst poring over the details for the grand event it suddenly occurred to us that what we really wanted was just to be married in an intimate ceremony surrounded by our closest family and friends and to celebrate with beautiful food and wine. We realised that we could simply invite guests to my 30th birthday which fell conveniently on a Saturday in 2009 and we could be married at the same time. And so the surprise wedding birthday plan was hatched, with the promise by James that I would never have to receive a combined anniversary/birthday present! He happily agreed as this meant only one date to remember.

We designed the invitation ourselves and it was produced by graphic design studio Qube Konstrukt. Hidden in the text box were the words “James and Nicole Wedding” and these words were then highlighted on the thank you cards.


The theme was Old Hollywood Glamour, black, white, silver and a touch of hot pink in keeping with the venue’s beautiful pink curtains. Immediate family and the best man and maid of honour were in on the secret and helped us throw other guests off the scent.

The day started with the myself, my maid of honour and mother getting ready at the home and studio of makeup artist Julie Dammery whilst James woke in his childhood home and shared a brunch with his father, brother and best man.



Two black Chrysler C300s (1300 Limo now) then collected the bridal party and we posed for photographs at various locations before arriving at the Prince Hotel suite where everyone relaxed and chatted while waiting for the guests to arrive downstairs.




Guests arrived at the bar from 6.30pm while James, his best man, groomsman and our celebrant and photographer waited in the dining room.


I waited nervously upstairs with my father and maid of honour. James and I both sent sneaky text messages to guests complaining of traffic and suggested that they head into the dining room to be seated while they waited for us. Once there, the celebrant announced the surprise and the photographer brilliantly captured the moment as people realised they were actually attending our wedding.





The ceremony then commenced as my father walked me down the aisle to the ‘Love Actually’ rendition of the Beatles’ ‘All You Need is Love’.

Our ceremony included a reading (The Art of Marriage) by James’ brother and I brought some of my father’s Jewish heritage into the ceremony by including the tradition of the breaking of the glass by the groom, which serves to represent the fragility of marriage. James’ father gave a toast, which included an old Scottish blessing in honour of his family’s Scottish heritage.

My vows were both sincere and a little humorous as I promised, amongst other things, never put sultanas in James’ food (he thinks they are unexpected bursts of flavor, like hidden food mines I guess!) and to never schedule activities that clash with a F1 Grand Prix.


James invited guests to then sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to me as I had almost forgotten it was my 30th birthday with all the wedding excitement.


Once seated I slipped on some Peter Alexander pink satin slippers to ease my tired tootsies!


We enjoyed our first night as husband and wife in the King Suite at The Prince Hotel and joined close friends the following day for a debrief over Yum Cha.

As we were due to settle on our first home a week after the wedding and then I was starting a new job the week after, we had a “mini-moon” of 10 days at Kudos Villas in Hepburn Springs where we indulged in massages, spas and plenty of delicious food and wine.

Our best man and maid of honour also organised post wedding hens and bucks events for us the following month.

We are so glad we changed our plans as we had the best surprise wedding birthday ever!

Venue: Circa Private Dining Room, St Kilda, Melbourne.


Dress: Baccini and Hill


Inside the dress, my mother suggested that my late grandfather’s St Christopher be sewn in as my ‘something old and borrowed’.


Hair Flowers: Alannah Hill


Photographer: Adrian Tuazon


Celebrant: Jason McCheyne


Favours: Personalised Pink and Platinum M&Ms imported from the US (James and I always shared M&Ms during our early courtship)


Personalised Guest Book by Bookbinders Design


Flowers: Flower Flower (which included to my surprise my favourite white peonies which were kindly sourced by the florist from The Netherlands due to them being unavailable in Melbourne at that time of year)




Hair and Makeup: Julie Dammery of Beautique Creative


Rings: Janai Jewellers


Shoes: Steve Madden “Something Blue” Collection (a silvery blue as the bride’s ‘something blue’).


Cake: Babycakes By Design –  flavours were first tier chocolate, and second tier, raspberry and white chocolate.


Groom’s Suit: Soho Workshop, 407 Chapel Street, South Yarra, Melbourne. Phone: 03 98261990

Ms Polka Dot says: The gorgeous surprise wedding today of Nicole and James. Everything about this wedding screams ‘elegance’ but with a more than the usual element of surprise and delight! Congratulations Nicole and James and thank you for sharing your wedding/birthday with us!

Nicole says: Melbourne based, married to Mr F and new mum of one particularly gorgeous baby S, I love my boys, all things wedding, travel, food, my cat Chloe and of course all things Polka dot!

Visit  Nicole’s blog here Bumps Bubs and Stuff I Love



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  • Wedding Cake
  • Babycakes By Design

Dan proposed 20 months after we started dating and the day before his 29th birthday. His original plan hit a ‘natural disaster’ kind of bump and instead we had a quiet engagement followed by a dinner with our families. Our theme for the wedding morphed from all white into white and bright after the shoes I fell in love with only came in cherry red or grey. I decided to go with the red and the other colours just seemed to fall in place.



My wedding dress happened by chance and was actually picked by my mum-in-law. Julie saw the dress (Trono by Manuel Mota from Pronovias) in the bridal shop window and said to me ‘I know it’s everything you said you didn’t want. But I think it would look great on you.’ I tried it on and I cried and so did Julie. The dress was picked! I fell in love with stationery from Tear Drop Weddings – a Canadian based company. They make the characters look like you! I loved that this was the first hint of our wedding day that our guests got. It was unique and fun and we had so many brilliant comments about them!



We got married at Anderson Gardens along side their Lotus Pond. It was a beautiful setting, with the whole wedding fitting under the shade of a large tree. I walked down the aisle to ‘It feels like home’ by Chantal Kreviazuk sung live by Elle Graham. I thought it was funny the way everything seemed to fit – as my shoes had become known as ‘there’s no place like home’ shoes. It was really like Dorothy’s wedding over the rainbow! A special moment for me was having both my parents give me away. I thought it was just me trying to hold back the tears when Dan met us at the end of the aisle but as I went to kiss mum on the cheek her eyes were tearing up. I said to her ‘Don’t start or you’ll make me cry!” Only to hear my Dad’s voice behind me say ‘Not before me.’ I looked to him as Daniel took my hand and his face was red and his eyes wet but he was beaming his big smile.


During the ceremony Dan accidently said ‘with this wing I thee wed’ It was perfect! We burst into giggles and the celebrant had him say it again!



My cocktail hat and bridesmaid fascinators were made by local Townsville Designer Katherine Falco Designs. She’s fantastic and so talented (and patient)!

Our photos were taken by the magnificent Andrew Rankin. I can’t thank him enough for being so supportive and positive with all my ‘big’ ideas. To quote Andrew when discussing transporting our giant balloons to our photo locations he simply said, ‘You’ve seen that movie Up haven’t you?” I knew we had a winner then.



The reception was held at our local RSL, which holds a personal connection for my family, as well as Daniel. Instead of traditional bonbonnieres we decided to place moustaches on sticks (made by us) on each table. We were hoping this would act as a possible ice-breaker for guests who hadn’t met and another incentive for guests to have some fun in the photo booth. Our photo booth tied into our photo guest book with guests asked to sign a page, to which we would later add their photo. It’s one funny and precious momento!


Our wedding cake was made by the talented Leoni from Happy Cakes. It was a 3 tiered white cake with multicoloured ‘sugar confetti’ tumbling off it. It had 3 flavours in each tier; of peppermint, white raspberry-choc, and chocolate – so that when you cut a slice it was white, pink and brown and oh so yum!


Another personal touch at our reception was the fact that Dan’s dad’s band played for the evening! It was especially lovely to have them play ‘Say hey I love you’ for when the bridal party walked in – only to stop and change to ‘I’m yours’ by Jason Mraz for our surprise first dance before we’d even sat down! I made a surprise dress change after the formalities; into a 1950’s swing dress. My god-father and I had learned to rock and roll when I was 21 and as I still love it, we teed up a little dance to ‘CandyMan’ by Christina Aguilera. We had a blast and from what we hear, so did all of our guests.

Ms Polka Dot says: Such a fun and happy tropical wedding for you today, with bright pops of colour, lots of humour and lots of personal touches! Don’t the photographs just ooze fun and happiness? Congratulations Paula and Dan – and thank you for sharing your wedding day with us.

Paula says: I’m 24 and live in Townsville, North Queensland with my new hubby Daniel, and our dog Zeus. My favourite cocktail is a Starburst! It’s like a liquid starburst – yum o !



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