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“When my sweet, silly, snuggly and now apparently very surprising Buzz proposed to me last week, I was off with the fairies. Oblivious and unaware, despite my Proposal Radar being on high alert, when it finally came I was entirely caught by surprise – and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

A couple of months ago we had come to the rational, adult, mutually consenting agreement that we wanted to get married in August 2011, before our planned trip to the US and before we started our family. It was all very sensible, rational, organised and planned – like me – but we both still wanted something a bit more meaningful and romantic. Buzz wanted to propose, and I wanted to be proposed to. We chose a ring together (more on that later!), and then I knew absolutely nothing else – it was all up to him. I got on with planning our wedding, trying not to spill the beans to all and sundry, while he got on with the business of plotting the proposal.

And it did my head in. Calmness deserted me and every time Buzz would leave the room my newly installed internal Proposal Radar would start screaming “Awooga! Awooga!”. He delighted in throwing out clues and dropping hints, while I slowly became a small bag of frazzled jangling nerves. I restrained myself from hunting for the ring when he wasn’t around – but only just – and told myself repeatedly, and thoroughly unconvincingly, that I should try to enjoy this special time. Special time my foot! It was a special time of torturous hellishness!

And yet when it came, despite my state of high tension and Code Red alertness, it truly surprised me.

Buzz and I were on holiday in a seaside town where my grandparents lived when I was a child. It holds a very nostalgic place in my heart, and we have also enjoyed our most relaxing and pleasurable holidays together there. It was the obvious choice … which is why Buzz made sure that every single clue he gave me in the lead up was designed to throw me off the scent.

Before the proposal, soaking in the sun.

When the sun came out brightly one morning, Buzz suggested a stroll along the beach with our little dog, and lord and master, Sam. Aha, I thought – this is it! But when the sun went behind the clouds, he suggested staying in, and I assumed that it wasn’t the day after all. By the time the sun reappeared – and this is Melbourne, so it’s usually only a matter of ten minutes or so – off we trouped again.

Buzz has a habit of fossicking and collecting debris on the beach, and off he went clambering over rocks with Sam, getting his feet wet and picking up pieces of flotsam and jetsam. I followed, photographing bits and pieces as I went, and wondering when it was time to go home for a lovely G&T. Buzz, leaning over the edge of some rocks which jutted out into the ocean, called me over to see what he had found. Slightly grumpy and reluctant to get too close to the edge, I wandered over to grudgingly inspect his discovery. And here my Proposal Radar completely and utterly let me down.

The silvering beach.

The beach had the afternoon slick of silver running along its shoreline, with the last of the golden sunrays glimmering on top of gentle, flickering waves. Mountainous walls of seaweed lined the beach as far as the eye could see, a bulwark against the approaching tide, while dark driftwood punctured the curve of the coast and a small chill in the wind signaled the end of the day.

I saw a glint in his hand.

Already on one knee, on the edge of ocean, Buzz looked up at me and I began to cry.

Neither of us remembers what we said – except that he asked and I said yes.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Our proposal rocks

Ms Polka Dot says: Miss T: Princess Vegan (Rachel) shares with us her sweet proposal from the ‘smart and snuggly Buzz’. This is just Episode One in her journey to their Wedding Day!

Rachel says, she is:

‘Organised to the max; fan of all things sparkly and organic; vegan (but no hemp or dreadlocks); proud mama to a Chihuahua princeling and two snooty cats; drinker of beer; and thrilled to her little cotton socks to be marrying the sweet, silly, smart and snuggly Buzz.’

The Plantation and The Little White Wedding Company’s Luxury Wedding Soiree

As one of the first special guest writers for Polka Dot Bride, I felt a lot of pressure on this post. So much so, it got the best of me at times and this is now horribly, horribly late. I’ll portion some of the blame on work and my own wedding planning, but a large part of it has to do with writer’s block. How can I, in fewer than 750 words, accurately describe the Luxury Wedding Soiree? …

The Soiree was designed to be an alternative to standard wedding expos. The Plantation was set up to represent what it could actually look like if you (or I) had your wedding there. You could taste the food, drink the champagne, hear the live music, sit under the marquees and walk down the path to a possible ceremony site.

And what a great idea!

Under the marquee

First of all, The Plantation is a stunning venue. It’s reminiscent of English country estates with the driveway leading to a beautiful building, perfectly manicured courtyard (including a pool and fountain!!) before a sloping hill takes you down to rows of cherry trees next to a forest. Interestingly, I overheard one guest point out that her heels weren’t sinking into the grass in the courtyard – good to know. It offers a striking alternative to a beach wedding for anyone near South East Queensland.

The Plantation

The Plantation gardens

My “points to consider”:

  • Cooroy is seriously far away… from Brisbane anyway. It took me 1hr40  from Brisbane City and that was with good traffic, so consider transport and the distance your guests might have to travel;
  • The hill down to the cherry trees was quite steep and I didn’t see stairs or anywhere for the elderly/disabled to get down;
  • Well… that’s all I could come up with really.

The second thing that made this event truly fabulous was Victoria and The Little White Wedding Company (LWWC). Victoria says her service is all about personalisation and the little touches, and that definitely came through. From the high quality selection of vendors invited, to the attention to detail (most evident in the goody bags – gorgeous perfume and cupcakes made by Victoria herself anyone?), the goal of “luxury” was definitely achieved.

I had the opportunity to catch her for five minutes and pick her brain. This proved to be more difficult than I had imagined – she was all over the place, in a good way though, the way I envision a highly efficient and experienced Wedding Planner to be.

Victoria* offered some advice for Brides-to-be:

  • Research. And compare vendors. She has at least 3-4 different vendors for each aspect of wedding planning, to try and cover varying budgets and personalities.
  • On the day – make time for yourselves. Before the ceremony, schedule in a massage**. After the ceremony, set aside time for you and your new husband to have some “alone time and soak in the moment”.

Overall, I’d give this event a 9/10. The idea is inspired, and I would highly recommend repeats – although I’m not sure Victoria would be so keen with all the highly-stressed/sleepless hours I’m sure she and the rest of the team went through. This was not an expo where you were bombarded by photographer after photographer after florist after celebrant all either shoving a flyer into your hand (and quickly moving on to the next) or trying to force you to sign then and there***. No, this was intimate, calm, organised, elegant – some of the characteristics I think that make for a good wedding. And did I mention there was punch! Including a kiwifruit punch!**** But truly, I’ve been to similar events at hotels in Brisbane where the general feeling was still one similar to mega-commercial expos. Both Kellie (from The Plantation) and Victoria took the time to talk to almost every group of guests that day; if that doesn’t describe dedication, you tell what does!

My favourite vendors of the day:

  • Offenbach Trio – hearing the strings as you arrive set the tone. Relaxing, inviting, elegant…
  • Studio Impressions – some of the best photos I’ve seen in the last 10 months of being engaged. And I’ve seen a loooooottttttt……
  • Cake Designs – the wonder that is croquembouche. And a lovely guy.
  • Bill Scurry. Celebrant. He was warm, funny, easy to talk to and felt really honest.

Offenbach trio

Croquembouche (Cake Designs)

You can find professional photos on The Plantation’s website and LWWC’s blog.

*You should know that Victoria and LWWC offer all sorts of packages – from full service planning to ‘On the Day’ coordination. And she’s super nice. Honest.

**Give yourself enough time to wake back up though!

***Can you tell I’m not a big fan of expos? Sure you can. You’re Polka Dot Bride readers. You’re smart. ‘Nuff said.

****Maybe it’s just me and my kiwi-ness, but the idea of green kiwifruit punch made me bubble with smiles 🙂

Kahiwa was our first ever Polka Dot Bride reporter and visited the luxury wedding soiree on behalf of Polka Dot Bride. A little about Kahiwa…..

“My name is Kahiwa and I’m a hard-core All Black-supporting Kiwi living in Brisbane with my equally AB-nuts Kiwi fiance. We’re planning a wedding back in our hometown of Wellington, New Zealand. In the meantime, I’m addicted to Twitter, Facebook, ukulele, baking, the colour yellow, blogs and the internet in general. I feed my narcissism by sharing my own wedding-related thoughts on http://grant-and-kahiwa.blogspot.com. Mostly, I’m just trying my best not to turn into a Bridezilla before May 2011 :)”

Cathrin D'Entremont's The Wedding Workshop

Being a bride-to-be is an overwhelming & exciting experience. You are on top of the world because your soul-mate has just asked you to live happily ever after with him.

Planning your wedding, however, can be the a daunting task when you don’t know where to start!!! This is where the WEDDING WORKSHOP – magically created by Cathrin D’Entremont is the answer for Perth brides!!!

Cathrin D'Entremont's The Wedding Workshop

Myself and Cathrin

My name is Maria & I am happily engaged!!! I’m in Perth, WA with my wonderful partner Dyllen & my two boys and we are due to wed March  5th 2011.

I attended Cathrin’s Wedding Workshop on Wednesday evening and from the moment I walked in I knew that it was going to be a big help!!! Cathrin has a long history in the wedding business and has been thoughtful enough to think about us poor brides! She decided it was time she pulled together some wonderful businesses to educate brides through her workshop. She has designed the workshop to assist brides in co-coordinating their wedding in a fun, efficient way.

Cathrin D'Entremont's The Wedding Workshop

The workshop set up

kelly 171

Cathrin D'Entremont's The Wedding Workshop

Samples of table decor from Bomboniere Galore

Cathrin D'Entremont's The Wedding Workshop

Stationery from Mailbox Design

Cathrin D'Entremont's The Wedding Workshop

Unlike a bridal expo or show, you don’t feel as if you are obliged to book or purchase anything. It’s warm and most of all, very informative.

Cathrin opened the workshop with advice on planning your wedding from budget basics, wedding ‘do’s & don’ts’ – to handy tips on keeping sane throughout the whole planning process and on your special day.

You are then greeted by the panel of vendors who individually answered questions on the basics of wedding planning.

Cathrin D'Entremont's The Wedding Workshop

Host – Cathrin D’Entremont

Cathrin D'Entremont's The Wedding Workshop

Natasha Rogers for Tompkins on Swan Perth for Receptions, Jeanette from Bomboniere Galore for Decor Hire, Jappalin Manning for Flower Talk for Flowers, Julia Dewane from Queen of Cakes for cakes.

The first panel of vendors discussed photography and videography, and outlined the importance of making sure you get to know your vendor. The second part of the workshop educated us on how to choose a reception venue & how to hire a decorator. We also learned what cake we should choose to compliment our style & to ensure that we choose flowers that are in season to be cost-effective.

We learned about how we could do our hair and make up and what different types of stationery we might order.

Cathrin D'Entremont's The Wedding Workshop

Natasja from NK Photography for hair & makeup tips, Stacey Morris, Scott Murphy from Mailbox Design for stationery

Cathrin D'Entremont's The Wedding Workshop

Jason Wheoiki for Da Ron Ron Ron for DJ/Entertainment, Scott Martins for Dreamhost Limousines for wedding transport, Stacey Morris for marriage celebrants

The last panel of vendors informed us about the legal requirements of getting hitched, the length of time  we should hire our wedding transport  on our wedding day, and tips on the sorts of entertainment we could hire to play at our wedding.

After the talk we were able to have one-on-one talks with the vendors, continue nibbling on the delish canapes, and sip on our refreshing bubbles. Most of us even won a prize!!

Cathrin D'Entremont's The Wedding Workshop

Cathrin D'Entremont's The Wedding Workshop Cathrin D'Entremont's The Wedding Workshop

Cakes from Queen of Cakes, Ceremony music from Les Tres Amies

Cathrin D'Entremont's The Wedding Workshop

Prizes from Bridal Survival, Pink Frosting, Flexi Flats and Alannah Rose Stationery

So if you’re getting married, and confused as ever, whether you have everything already planned or have nothing on paper, sign up for the next Wedding Workshop and I guarantee you that you will leave knowing you’re in control.

Note from Ms Polka Dot: Maria is our very first bride post! One of the special projects we’ve been working on is sending real brides to review real events! Maria went along to August’s “The Wedding Workshop” as a representative of Polka Dot Bride. Thank you Maria!

We’re about to start rolling on contributors and can’t wait to see what you have in store!