BACK TO TOP

Bec & Sam

Bec and Sam, who tied the knot in Clare Valley, South Australia, made a big deal of highlighting everything local – from their gorgeous venues, to the amazing food, wine and even bonbonniere. The couple has ties to the area, making it all the more special. They held their ceremony at St Aloysius’ Church, which Sam visited many times as a kid, and their reception at SLATE at Pikes Wines, where Bec’s dad is the general manager. The couple loved the idea of sharing the area with their family and friends. There to capture all the magical moments was What Pete Shot Photography and Little Darling Films. Snapping all the incredible details of the reception venue was Pilot Studio Co. Below, Bec retells her and Sam’s love story, how the proposal went down and how their wedding day unfolded.

Sam and I met the traditional way… at a mutual friend’s 21st! I had snuck away from a conference dinner with a friend, and went to the circus-themed party. Sam remembers me in a black dress with my hair pinned to one side, and I remember Sam in red pants and a rainbow shirt a decent costume I thought until he continued to wear the red pants on numerous other occasions!

Sam was quick to request my friendship on Facebook, and the relationship took off from there. After nine years it’s hard to remember life without each other!

The proposal happened on my 28th birthday. Sam took me back to the hall the 21st was held in, where a surprise lunch and a proposal was waiting! In hindsight, there had been a few suspicious moments leading up to that day, including Sam being VERY insistent on knowing the whereabouts of my dad on a particular random weekday. But on the day itself, it was only when we pulled up at the Mitcham Hall that I cottoned onto what was about to happen!

The hall was set up with enough spots for our immediate families, and once I had said yes, they were given the all-clear to surface from the local coffee shop and share lunch with us.

We married on October 19, 2019. Our ceremony was at St Aloysius’ Church and our reception was at SLATE Restaurant, Pikes Wines. Both venues are located in Clare Valley, South Australia.

Our wedding stationery was simple, but it came to life through a gorgeous colour palette, textured embossing and a personalised wax seal. We had been the recipients of many invites from Magnolia Press, and so many friends had raved about Sharon’s work. Her attention to detail is incredible. If I haven’t sold her enough, her efficiency on emails truly made her a bride’s dream!

I’ll never forget opening the door to our beautiful bridal bouquets by Hygge Studio. I couldn’t believe such amazing bunches had been created just for us! It may have weighed the same amount as a small child, but I just wanted to carry it with me everywhere!

For my wedding dress, I used Helen Manuell, a bridal designer from Melbourne. I’d been stalking her for a few years on social media. I took Mum to Melbourne, ‘just to see what she was like’, and as soon as we met, it felt like we were old friends!

My experience with Helen was one of the best things about planning a wedding! Being a Haighs chocolate nut, I’d stash my shoebox with chocolates from Adelaide each visit. We still text regularly, about cooking, baking and life in general. She is a wonderful human being.

My dress was a fitted lace bodice with an invisible low-v neck and open back, with a full silk organza skirt. I picked the lace over text message, and I looked at it every day leading up to the wedding. I just loved it! The dress was so comfortable and suited me so well. We paired it with an off the rack Steven Khalil veil, one that was decorated with Swarovski peals and crystals.

I also had a reception dress, as I was a little indecisive and knew the volume of my skirt wouldn’t work on a dance floor! I was lucky enough to find the last in my size in the country of a Maticevski dress I’d had my eye on. It was comfortable, elegant and party-perfect!

My bridesmaids were my sister, a childhood friend and a close friend and wife of one of Sam’s groomsmen. Picking dresses for the girls was one of the easiest parts of planning, although it came with a degree of difficulty. One girl was due to give birth two months before the wedding, and another lived rurally, so the first time they tried them on together was the night before the wedding!

I’d had my eye on a gorgeous deep green Acler dress. Naturally, there was only three left in stock and could only be purchased online. I took the risk, and they fit the girls perfectly!

The boys wore black Gibson tuxedoes, white shirts and black bow ties. Sam also wore a black cummerbund, and all four boys wore suspenders. The groomsmen and both dads were gifted RM Williams boots to wear on the day, to finish off the look.

Three of the four boys (including Sam) had been groomsmen in a wedding earlier in the year, so we ended up using the same suits and shirts!

I walked down the aisle to ‘Canon’ by Pachbel. Classic, wedding-y, and we knew we wouldn’t change our minds and hate it later!

At the ceremony we had two oversized urns with mixed greenery, orchids, hydrangeas and the most incredible pop of red roses.

We felt that a church ceremony suited us, although it isn’t always the done thing anymore! We kept the prayers light and chose ones that centred around love and relationships, and also wrote some of our own shorter readings. Our priest was witty and had a fantastic (and wicked!) sense of humour. It kept us on our toes during the ceremony, but also helped us to feel relaxed and enjoy it!

Our photographer was Pete from What Pete Shot Photography. I have known Pete for about 15 years. He was a schoolteacher in his past life! When picking vendors, we figured it was much easier to go with what we knew, and not fall into the hole of scrolling endlessly through social media to find someone. Pete fit that brief. We spoke to him three days after we got engaged and he was in! Pete has an eye for incredible photo locations and was such great fun to have around. It’s amazing now to look back at the little moments he captured that otherwise would have been forgotten in the blur of the day.

We were very lucky to be the first couple to be married at Pikes Wines new restaurant, SLATE. Being new, the venue had an amazing feel and didn’t require a lot of styling.

Hygge Studio had a gorgeous oyster cart that was part of their hire collection. It was a point of difference and we knew it would be perfect for pre-dinner canapes. Whilst the bridal party were having photos, nibbles and a viewing of the reception space, the guests were out on the Pikes’ lawns having drinks, canapes and freshly-shucked oyster. According to everyone they were a hit! Because of the timing of everything, we never ventured out to the lawns or saw the oyster cart! But from the rave reviews we received from guests, we’ll take their word that it was one of the best parts of the wedding!

The aim was to have a relaxed country vibe, with some classic touches. The colour palette was simple – olive green, navy and grey, and was highlighted with the subtle colour palette and occasional pop of the florals. There are so many other options than the traditional white tablecloths and crockery, and we were lucky to have access to Pikes‘ gorgeous navy and cream crockery and Hygge’s hire linens.

We decided early on that we would utilise a planner, and had been loving the work of Hygge Studio. The decision paid off, as their work in the months leading up to and on the day was priceless. They took the decision fatigue out of things. We didn’t want to be deciding between seven chair quotes!

We liked the fact they were a one-stop shop, as along with their planning services, they offer in-house floristry, carpentry, a hire inventory and on the day coordination. The run sheet for the wedding day itself was military-precise and took every little logistical detail into consideration. It meant everyone that had some involvement in the day could just enjoy it!

In the end, we gave Hygge creative control of the flowers to run wild, and we’re so glad we did. What they came up with blew us away! The bridal table had a stunning feature backdrop of greenery, neutral-tone wildflowers, with roses and orchids scattered throughout. Our potted table settings were gifted to guests on their way out at the end of the night.

Our tables were shared, meaning our guests could interact and share a meal with both old friends and someone new. We chose to have a relatively small guest list of 130, which reflected the wonderful circle of friends we’d created over the course of our relationship. We also didn’t feel compelled to invite people for numbers or to please others. Everyone in the room was there because they meant something to us. The list also was manageable enough to spend time with each group for a meaningful conversation or a dance!

Looking back on our day, it couldn’t have run any smoother. It was perfect and very us!

We wanted to highlight all the things we love most about the Clare Valley – the food, wine and beautiful locations. We were so lucky to have an on-site restaurant and keen chef. We didn’t have a menu tasting beforehand, but trusted that he’d create an amazing menu, and he did! Our suggestion of a ‘few things for a dessert table’ turned into a full grazing buffet! Where possible, we tried to use local produce too- our bonbonniere were little take-home bottles of locally sourced oilve oil.

For our first dance, we danced to an acoustic cover of ‘(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher’. We spent ages stewing over ideas, as we didn’t have a special ‘couple song’. It took going back through our Spotify playlists to find this gem. Our band (The Uptown Seeds) learned the song, with a transition into the upbeat party version for us to involve our bridal party in.

My advice for soon to be newlyweds? Enjoy the planning! It’s not often you get to plan a party that is all about you, so choose things that celebrate the uniqueness in your relationship and personalities.

It’s also easy to keep scrolling through social media once you’ve made big decisions. Delete any profiles or hashtags that might feed any indecisiveness you might be feeling!
If time permits, have a sneak peek at the reception space before the guests arrive. It was a gesture so small by our planner, but it was amazing to see all the plans and dreams we’d had over 18 months come to life.

Most importantly, take time to relax and enjoy the company of your loved one. It’s so easy to divide and conquer the room, but you’ll be forgiven for taking the time to dance together or to just sit back and take it all in!

Little Darling Films were our videographers. We LOVED them. Little did we know it was Anthony’s first time as the lead videographer. He absolutely nailed it! They were professional, fun to be around and were so subtle in obtaining their footage. The video itself sums us as a couple and the day up perfectly. No matter how many times we watch it, we still get chills… or in my case, tears!

Ms Floral Says: What a beautiful day that really highlights the beauty of Clare Valley! Congratulations Bec and Sam on your marriage, and a wedding that guests will no doubt be raving about for years to come.

 

Credits

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.

  • Favors
  • Locally sourced olive oil
Polka Dot Bride Shop

Tara & Andrew

Surprise! It’s a surprise wedding! When Andrew proposed to Tara, a Melbourne based textile and clothing designer, in the middle of 2019, she asked him if he wanted to have a wedding that was a little bit different. Andrew was open to ideas… and voila! The results speak for themselves as Tara details below. Capturing all the beauty, creativity and fun of this day? None other than Sayher Heffernan. You are in for such a treat!

Andrew and I first met at my stall at Melbourne Big Design Market, where another designer and long time friend of Andrew’s introduced us. Little did she know, we had matched on Tinder a couple of weeks before! She marvelled at how awkward we were being. She just thought Andrew thought I was cute. So we would have met anyway… but it could have been left at that!

We married on January 18, 2020. Our wedding was relaxed, fun, surprising and creative. At the after party we wanted people to be able to mingle and dance, so a surprise wedding/cocktail party with an amazing DJ surrounded by plants was perfect!

For my bouquet, I chose dried flowers from Gather Store in Queensland, as Andrew grew up in Brisbane and the Northern Rivers. They are also one of my stockists! The bouquet I chose had beautiful rust hues that tied in well to Andrew’s suit. I loved that they were already dried to last.

Just before the “party”, I had my best girlfriends meet me at Andrew’s house to help pick up supplies for the engagement. Each one arrived individually and was surprised one by one. You are a suprise-maid!

My suprise-maids were Steph, Carolyn and Kate. Andrew and I both had our brothers as best men. Lachlan and Alex. It was special to have our best friends for life as our people of honour.

The ceremony was help at Glasshaus Outside. After winning the Frankie Magazine 2019 Good Stuff Award for Fashion Design, I was delighted to have found this excellent dreamy wedding venue (where the awards dinner was held).

Guests believed they were attending an engagement. Keeping it a secret was a great challenge. Only parents and siblings knew! We thought rolling two events into one would create a relaxed and hilarious atmosphere on the day and we were right! The reactions were classic!

Andrew and I both had to hide out the back from guests, so my suprise-maids hid me under a pink blanket that I use for markets so Andrew wouldn’t see me yet.

There were a few really sweet moments on the day. One of them was Andrew’s reaction as I walked towards him.

Andrew loves supporting local made so had his linen suit custom made by Anna Cordell. It has a lovely vintage feel and we styled it with a black bolo I made.

After Dad walked me down the aisle, he had a surprise song (he loves to sing as Melbourne’s Happiest Tram Driver ) ‘Stand by Me’… and everyone had to sing along.

Our celebrant, PS Aaron Kelly, prepared a short encouraging sermon, which was lovely!

Sayher Heffernan was our wedding photographer and was one of the best choices we made! He was integral to the day, and was so aware of timing and kept the day on track. I don’t know how the day would have run without him, as you really do lose track of time laughing with everyone! We were above and beyond impressed! His photography is amazing and made it so easy. When we received the photos we were beyond impressed. He really captured the day in a warm and lovely way! Andrew really appreciates his artistry.

As an artist, I couldn’t resist painting a big pop up mural to use as a photo wall!

The reception was held down the road at Glasshaus Inside, where a few friends were still being surprised as they arrived late (we were very casual in our invitations). It was the best day ever! Glasshaus was really helpful, warm and organised. An absolute dream to work with! They took away the mystery of how to plan a wedding and had really helpful suggestions. They made the planning process really easy.

The cocktails were a lovely touch to the evening and it was lovely walking through to the after party and having a little cheers together.

I loved getting out the paint brushes and adding a personal touch to the space, with artwork dotted everywhere.

Creating the placement print was a challenge, with every section needing a different composition, but it was worth the work! I couldn’t help myself and painted a pop up mural, invitations, artworks and glassware to match. It has inspired me to offer a bespoke textile design service to create unique fabrics for brides and bridesmaids… and commissioned art pieces for photo walls and invitations.

I designed my dress by taking all of Andrew’s favourite elements from my collections and creating the ultimate dress! The print features my paintings of significant flowers from memories from our time dating, with an illustration of us at the front, and looking towards the future on the back. I wanted to have the flowers feel like they were being tossed like confetti: stawflowers and wildflowers falling from the sky around the portrait at the hem. It was joyous to dance in the swishy skirt and billowing sleeves!

I have created custom artwork and bespoke textile prints for some of Australia’s leading made to measure bridal designers since 2014, and I’m SO excited to launch my new services for clients planning their special day. I love creating hand painted textile prints which captures the unique story of the couple. All things are possible – as well as creating a custom dress, we can design prints for each bridesmaid and groomsman to capture their personalities. We can also create custom invites, that are so cherishable, custom photo walls and event decoration to live painting at the event. I love how artwork can completely transform a space and create the ultimate personal and memorable event.

My favourite part of the planning was learning a dance with HD Entertainment.  It was so fun, and so nice having something really special to learn together. I was looking forward to our first dance all day! HD Entertainment whipped up a delightful little dance for us. They mixed  ‘Girl Like You’ by Toro y Moi and ‘Mi Gente’ by J Balvin, Willy William ft. Beyonce to go with the amazing (but not too hard!) routine they created for us. It was fun to have a mix of two songs we love.

I think the closest thing to a tradition was to plan it ourselves just how we wanted it! The only advice my folks gave us was to create our own dream day, our way, as that was their favourite thing they did. So we just did everything ourselves, and made it exactly as we liked! But also really appreciated advice from vendors to help with the logistics! The Glasshaus team are logistics queens!

Ms Floral Says: Oh this day looks so much fun! Congratulations Tara and Andrew on successfully pulling off a surprise wedding and in such amazing style. Your artistic touches look incredible amongst the lushness of Glasshaus. Wishing you both all the very best!

Polka Dot Dream Team...

The below wedding vendors made this magic happen and are an approved part of the Polka Dot Directory. Visit their portfolios to learn more and enquire about their services!

Credits

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.

  • Cinematographer
  • Lachlan Whalley

Laura & Jesse

It wouldn’t be The Vintage Issue without an Art Deco delight! Laura and Jesse, who met 10 years ago, tied the knot in an old school cinema as a nod to their love of the 1920s and 1930s. And what could make their unique ceremony even more heartwarming? Perhaps having your sister as your celebrant! Megan Jordan, Laura’s sister, was on board (or should I say stage?) to make things official. There to capture all the big moments and gorgeous details was Mardy Bridges of All My Wednesdays. Below, Laura retells the story of her special day.

Our wedding was on September 14, 2019. The ceremony was held at the Palace Westgarth Cinema in Northcote, in the main cinema. The reception was held at Little Henri in Thornbury. We also had first look photos along the Merri Creek. We requested our guests to dress cocktail/Art Deco as our venues were both built in the 1920s and 1930s.

We enjoyed the relaxed nature of the first look photos at the Merri Creek prior to the ceremony with the entire bridal party. This created a relaxed atmosphere (the groom was particularly nervous) because the groomsmen and bridesmaids got along great, bantered and made the afternoon light and fun.

We love Australiana flowers and foliage and feel that the colour palate worked well with the burnt orange of the cinema curtains during the ceremony. We used Floral Accent and worked closely with Laine McCully to create two large centrepieces, 11 medium arrangements in up-cycled gin bottles, eight posies, multiple boutonnieres, bridesmaid bouquets and, of course, the bridal bouquet. We chose in season Australiana flowers and trusted Laine who strategically added some beautiful roses to draw us back to the Art Deco style. She was also excited to add anything else to the bouquets that I had collected, including pampas grass and even green rooster feathers!

I had my dress made by Kathryn Ellard. I designed the dress based on varied aspects of multiple dresses I’d seen and tried on previously. I wanted a dress that was multifunctional with a top and skirt design.

The ceremony skirt was long with a small train with a heart shaped under button. The reception skirt was a Ginger Rogers style skirt which floated out and down when dancing in it (I never wanted to be stuck doing the bridal shuffle on the dance floor for my wedding day!). The bodice affixed to both skirts and was made with the most amazing beaded and embroidered material that Kate and I chose together. We kept elements of the 1920s feel (particularly in the ceremony skirt) but still was able to keep a modern feel that felt like ‘me’. I had an amazing experience working with Kate on every aspect of this gorgeous dress!

The groom wore a black velvet jacket by Jack London, with a paisley press print and a Politix double breasted vest, and a YD purple and pink floral print bowtie. He was going for a decadent look, with an eccentric twist, to stand out from his groomsmen.

For our bridal party… On the groom’s side, the best man was Jesse’s older brother Jake, and the two other groomsmen were his close friends Luke and Anthony. On my side, the matron of honour was my older sister Megan, and the two other bridesmaids were her close friends Minja and Danni, whom I’ve known for over 10 years.

We chose the Palace Westgarth Theatre for the ceremony because we wanted a venue that suited our interest in Art Deco and the 1920s and 1930s, also we liked the idea of all the guests being comfortable for the ceremony… something which is often not the case at many weddings. The main cinema has an elevated stage with burnt orange curtains in front of the screen, and seating for about 120 people.

In the beautiful photos of my dad and I walking down the steps of the aisle, there’s a man in the top right that none of us knew. Turns out he was a 90 year old man named Paul who frequented the cinema regularly for coffee and a show. He was so enamoured with the idea of the wedding that he came in for a sticky beak and was greeted by Jesse’s dad, Pete. Paul said he didn’t know us but Pete said, “Go on, have a seat, they won’t mind!” Haha! So we had our very own, very well behaved wedding crasher.

We chose a song by Hozier called ‘Shrike’ to walk down the aisle too. We initially wanted ‘Stand by Me’ by Ben E. King because we both had a strong connection with the song before we met, however a few weeks before the ceremony we decided the rhythm and grandeur of the Hozier song better set the mood for our ceremony. We did use ‘Stand by Me’ during our signing.

My sister, Megan Jordan, was our celebrant. She walked us through every stage of planning the ceremony, from vows and ring exchanges to positioning on the stage and even where we would sign our wedding certificate (on the edge of the stage). She has a warm and genuine nature that comes across when she performs a ceremony. She took our renditions of our love story and wove them together to create something entertaining, meaningful and very ‘us’. She also had lots of different ideas we could draw on for ways to involve our guests and family without being too traditional or stuffy. Such as having a ring warming ceremony, where our rings were passed around from the back of the cinema person to person, everyone blessing them with good wishes and hopes for our future, until everyone in the cinema had held them. There were a lot of difficult decisions to make while planning our wedding, however working with Megan was relaxed, easy and under control from the very beginning.

The beautiful burnt orange curtains covered the picture screen and became our backdrop for the ceremony making it feel lush, opulent and warm. We wanted a very stunning and grand looking ceremony that was also relaxed and humorous but most importantly expressed who we are as a couple.

We were pleasantly stunned by the grandeur of the cinema and how my decorative design came to life in the stunning Art Deco atmosphere. Including the beautiful posies with roster feathers, floral centrepieces atop of stylistic bar stools acting as our alter (created by Floral Accent) and having our classic black and white photo shoot couples photos playing on the big screen. Having all of those things in place gave a gravity to the ceremony.

Our photographer was Mardy Bridges from All My Wednesdays – she did an amazing job on the day and was able to get great candid photos as well as managing all the family and friends photos. She had three cameras strapped to her at all times and was able to capture over a thousand usable photos, create a highlights reel and provide us with footage of the ceremony, dance and speeches.

Having both venues so close together we decided to take the tram from the cinema to Little Henri with the bridal party and many guests. When the tram arrived the conductor was visibly excited when she saw us on the platform, ringing the tram bells for us and congratulating us over the loud speaker. Over the 15 minutes journey we laughed and joked and got some great photos all together that would not be considered part of the normal wedding photos you’d see at other weddings.

For the reception we decided on Little Henri. This was a cafe that I introduced to Jesse when we started dating and we both really enjoyed the food and the atmosphere. The building used to be a bank in the 30s and 40s and has a nice rustic vibe to it. Not only was it a convenient distance from the Palace Theatre but it also had plenty of mingling room (we had a cocktail reception), a dance floor with space to accommodate the band, an outdoor area where our guests could get some fresh air and chat amongst each other. We were also impressed with their menu and knew everyone would be well looked after.

Little Henri has a stunning rounded food display unit with dark wooden trim; and large green industrial lights hanging down over it. The layout allowed for easy mingling, access to a tasting table full of cheese, cold cuts and dips. The wall as you enter has a full length leather style bench which aided those who wanted to be a part of the party but seated.

I had the great idea of building a paper moon photo booth that was fashionable in the early 20th century so that our guests could pose and take their own photos. Another idea  was to have a ‘wish you were here’ wall with photos of important family members that had passed away and couldn’t be with us on the day.

We DIYed pretty much everything. We didn’t have a wedding planner so the organisation of both venues was pretty much on us, as well as all of the decorations besides the flowers (although I did design the layout of these too).
We had the old timey paper moon photo booth that Jesse built with his brother over a couple of weekends and then spent another weekend painting it with me.
There were the blankets that Jesse’s mum helped to sew, the neon signs that I spent many, many nights designing and Jesse glued into place, the ‘wish you were here’ photo frame and the welcoming table to name a few.
We also created a wedding inspired movie poster, which everyone signed on the way in to the ceremony. This was in lieu of a guest book. We have since framed it with our marriage certificate.

My sister Megan had beautiful wrist purse made from left over material of my dress, Megan’s dress from her own wedding, a bead on the base of it from one of our nana’s necklaces, and on the inside was one of our oma’s lockets with a picture of our mother and a small piece of her wedding dress inside the locket. The bag was big enough to fit my lipstick and a dainty handkerchief.

During the speeches, Jesse’s dad, Pete, sang to us the same song he sang to Jesse’s mum, Denyse, on their wedding day. This was done with the same aptitude and class as Tony Bennett would’ve delivered.

We did our first dance to an acoustic version of ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’ by Rachel Brown. A couple of years earlier we went to see the stage performance of The Bodyguard and at the end the band played this song, we both just jumped up and started dancing with each other in the aisle on the balcony, and it is one of our favourite memories together.

My last wedding day highlight was Jesse carrying me across the alter of the Air BNB we were staying in that night. When the entrance door to the apartment opened onto a vista of the Melbourne skyline, we found it lit up with fairy lights.

My advice? Make sure your wedding is unique to you as a couple. As we were searching for venues we realised that if we went with a typical wedding venue we would have a pretty generic wedding, something we didn’t want.

Laura & Jesse’s wedding film by All My Wednesdays

Ms Floral Says: Congratulations Laura and Jesse on your marriage and such a beautiful wedding, encompassing your love of all things Art Deco! Getting married at a cinema is such a fun and creative idea that I’m sure will inspire others to do the same. Thank you for sharing your story with us today. Also a huge thanks to Megan Jordan and All My Wednesdays.

Polka Dot Dream Team...

The below wedding vendors made this magic happen and are an approved part of the Polka Dot Directory. Visit their portfolios to learn more and enquire about their services!

Credits

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.

  • Bride's Dress
  • Kathryn Ellard