Casey & Anthony

It’s not often that we have the pleasure of showcasing a surprise wedding, so this was such a treat! This gorgeous couple chose to do it ‘their way’ from the get go and what a party that ensued. Gathering friends and family under false pretences and hiding their wedding attire in secret places, Casey and Anthony were able to pull the wool until they announced ‘it’s a wedding’ in a beautiful nod to their heritages. Their photographer, Jonathan Newton of Pine & Ivory seamlessly captured the entire day and today Casey tells the story of how they pulled off the perfect surprise wedding!

Anthony and I have always done things ‘our way’, from the moment we met. Whether it be travel, study, work or the little things- we have always been drawn to doing things in a way that was a little different. We got engaged on a camping trip in the historic town of Walhalla, a favourite childhood location of mine, but the planning for our surprise wedding had began months prior! We had decided on one of our many long car trip adventures, that when we did get married, we would surprise everyone at our engagement party. We would keep the formalities simple, but the food a’ plenty! And we would all the while keep it true to us as a couple.

As a bit of a wedding fiend, I have spent most of my adult years reading wedding magazines, blogs such as this one, and trawling Instagram- in awe of the florals, the decor and the love that oozed from weddings. I couldn’t wait to have my own version, and I was determined to achieve the ‘must-have’ parts of a wedding in our celebration, but be confident in ditching the parts that were not important to us.

The hardest part to begin with was finding a venue which didn’t scream wedding, but could also be transformed into the space we needed. I stumbled across 40 Rd Event Space online and was immediately excited. We went and viewed the venue on Christmas Eve, and Katie and her team immediately won us over with their relaxed organisation, and the freedom that they could allow us. The venue is plain, and quite industrial- perfect for an event/party- but can also be transformed into any style you want, with decorations, flowers, seating and more. There is also an industrial kitchen out the back, where their catering company Fourside Events cook from, ensuring the food on your day is always hot and fresh.

A big draw card for us was the large menu we could pick from, and the flexibility of the food and drink packages. We opted for a grazing table, hand held food, plus small bowls, as well as late-night-munchies- a real favourite of our guests!

Next up were the other big four – the celebrant, flowers, DJ and photographer. I found all of these through friend recommendations and Instagram- with enough searching you can find anything you want using social media! Our venue was also extremely helpful in recommending vendors who had worked with them and other clients before – which we utilised for hiring plants and extra chairs and tables.

Fast forward to the day, to ensure we had some wedding portraits, we got all dressed up in our wedding gear and did a first-look with our photographer. This began at my parents house under their oak tree, and then we went to the Botanical Gardens in Frankston for all of our portraits. Afterwards, we came home and changed into our engagement attire and arrived at the venue and hid our wedding clothes in a little side room for later.

For our wedding attire, we wanted something simple and classic – but also something that wouldn’t break the budget. Anthony went for suave tuxedo, and I had a plain white dress, with buttons from the top, all the way to the bottom of the train. We had big plans of searching high and low for these items- but came across them at Ferrari Bridal and Formal wear, in our first shopping trip. Both were easy picks, and the ladies at Ferrari were our kind of vendors; fun, bright and they made us feel so comfortable.

Our guests began to arrive and the food and drink flowed. We took photos under our flower wall, which was easily one of my favourite elements of our decor. The flowers and greenery were key to creating our lush and green style, as well as adding colour to the industrial space. Our florist created two large flower and greenery walls, as well as a bar arrangement and table arrangements. She also incorporated my favourite flowers – carnations, into everything she made. A true testament to how incredible and integral she was in making our day, ours.

At around 7:30pm, my Dad asked for everyone’s attention to give a toast and asked for Anthony’s Mum and my late grandfather’s brother to come to the front. He had secretly explained to them what he wanted them to do about 20 minutes beforehand. As an ode to our Greek and Dutch heritage, and family members who were no longer with us, Dad then asked for Anthony’s Mum to say a passage in Greek, to which the few Greek speaking members in the crowd gasped, and his YiaYia came running to the front – parting the sea of guests in front of her.

My Mum’s Uncle then said his passage in Dutch – which was basically ‘Thank you for coming to the engagement of Anthony and Casey, but they are actually going to get married tonight!’. The majority of the crowd was looking around in bewilderment, until my Dad announced ‘There’s going to be a wedding!’. The crowd cheered, and we made our way into the little bridal suite, to get changed into our wedding attire.

In keeping with having small elements of sentiment to our family dotted throughout our celebration, I walked down the aisle to ‘Can’t Help Falling In Love’ by Kina Grannis – a cover of my parents first dance song originally sung by Elvis Presley.

Our ceremony was brief, but included an important mention of our grandparents (who were all sitting in the front row), and included my brother and Anthony’s cousin as ring bearers and witnesses – in place of having a bridal party. Our celebrant Danielle was exceptional at capturing what was important to us in a succinct and articulate way. She made us feel like it was our friend marrying us, and not a stranger.

After the ceremony, we had some time with guests where more food and drink was served and we had some family photos. We then kept our speeches brief, cut the cake and had our first dance. This was where the party started, and all of the formalities ended. It was really important to us that guests had a good time, so we deliberately opted for minimal speeches, no bouquet tosses and no formal meals – just cocktail style.

Our DJ was amazing at keeping the dance floor full, as was our MC to keep the night on schedule (an important aspect of having a surprise wedding is letting everyone who knows, in on the timing of the night…to help out in making it a seamless execution!).

My Dad and I couldn’t settle on a father-daughter dance song and kept coming back to one of our family’s favourite songs ‘Slice of Heaven’ by Dave Dobbyn, so we decided on a family dance instead! This was so much more fun, and really embraced the kind of family I have come from, and the family Anthony was now officially part of.

We opted to cut costs and stress for a few things, including; our cake and dessert. These was made by my amazing best friend (who was in on our secret), and then dressed with flowers by our florist. We had very simple invitations, and I made the welcome sign, as well as the ‘cards and gifts’ sign myself. All of our candles and candle holders were purchased from k-mart (at a bargain price!), and we opted for no wedding favours.

Our briefing to our photographer was to capture as much natural interaction as possible, and my one request was that I had always dreamt of having a confetti photo of the two of us walking back down the aisle. These are my favourite photos from the night!

We found the whole process so much fun and I have our amazing vendors to thank for that. Planning a surprise wedding could be very stressful, however, the only stressful part was keeping it a secret!

Ms Zebra Says: What an incredible secret – and what a way to pull it off!!!! I’m personally obsessed with the idea of a surprise wedding, so well done! Congratulations and we wish you both the happiest of marriages and life together!

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!


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Image by Georgia Verrells

Nothing epitomises Spring more than a beautiful garden. And a garden wedding never goes out of style because basically, Mother Nature never goes out of style! Iris Park Garden Weddings venue is a tranquil 10-acre property of botanic beauty, situated towards the end of a country lane on the Mornington Peninsula. It is transformed in Spring with flowering plants that contribute a kaleidoscope of colour and fragrance to wedding ceremonies. Spring gardens typically provide plenty of colour and visual interest. However, if a floral theme is not your choice for a wedding, there are lush lawns, mature exotic trees, tracts of native bushland and an abundance of greenery at Iris Park.

Our advice to you, is go with your instinct and not with the trends. If your vision is for an outdoor ceremony in picturesque gardens and grounds, plan it that way. Define your wedding vision and work from there. If it fits with your wedding timing, we would recommend visiting Iris Park twelve months in advance so you can appreciate exactly what is in flower when your wedding will be the following year. Spring flowering plants can give inspiration to the bride for her colour palette for the day and at Iris Park you can find roses, camellias, impatiens, fuchsias, begonias, clivia, cyclamen, geraniums and cymbidium orchids. You might choose a flower crown to accent the new spring flowers in bloom or select bouquets that complement the garden setting.

The Iris Park property is also is home to mass plantings of a variety of irises, most of which flower in Spring and early Summer. The Iris takes its name from the Greek word for a rainbow and it’s believed that the name refers to the wide variety of flower colours found among the many species.

Here are 5 of our favourite stunning spring time weddings with the gardens of Iris Park to Inspire you. Enjoy!

The Forecast Wedding

Image by Amanda Kilbourn Photography

Jasmine was the perfect Spring bride with her flower crown and the delicate blues of her bridesmaid’s’ gowns and toning shirts of Brett’s groomsmen providing a perfect foil for the greenery and pink roses at the ceremony site.

Image by Amanda Kilbourn Photography

The Hobson Wedding

Image by Georgia Verrells

The amazing luxe Boho (with a touch of Morocco) wedding of Kellie and Tim had it all: tipi made by husband Tim, peacock chairs, dream catchers, stunning florals and all beautifully complemented by the sense of peace experienced at our venue.

Image by Georgia Verrells

The Kenter Wedding

Image by Fotogenica

The relaxed wedding ceremony of Felicity and Dylan was located under an arch of yellow and pink roses, with Felicity arriving at the ceremony site via a natural entrance formed by two majestic gum trees.

Image by Fotogenica

The Maka Wedding

Image by Jack Foley

Not only was it the marrying of two hearts, but the marrying of two cultures when Teagan and Sione became husband and wife. Sione wore traditional Tonga wedding dress and the family decorated the ceremony site according to Tongan custom.

Image by Jack Foley

The Peters Wedding

Image by Sean Callinan from A Touch of Flash Photography

The October wedding of high-school sweethearts Rachelle and Jared capitalised on the profusion of Spring flowers adorning the venue. The pretty Iris-toned gowns of Rachelle’s bridesmaids reflected the colours of the Irises in bloom in the gardens.

Images by Sean Callinan from A Touch of Flash Photography

It may have been winter on the Mornington Peninsula when Amie and Kieran said ‘I do’ but there was nothing drab and dreary about this colourful wedding! The sun was shining as Tony Evans Photography was chosen to document the day and the couple threw tradition out the window as they opted for a wedding their way. The Bride even chose an incredible ruby red and sparkly dress! Their immense love for each other shines through the day and there is an underlying feeling of fun throughout. Oh to have been a fly on the wall for this fabulous occasion! The Bride Amie is sharing their story and all of the behind the scenes info on their quirky and colourful wedding day. 

We met when we were young. Roughly 16 years ago when I was 14 and Kieran was 18 at Wilson’s Prom. My family camped there over Christmas every year and Kieran would be there with his mates. Nothing blossomed at all back then but it formed an amazing friendship. Kieran and all his mates remained in my life and came to my mums surprise 50th birthday. I knew at that party that I wanted to see more of him. It was instant.

Our theme was relaxed, colourful and fun! There was so much love and happiness – and amazing food! We were super relaxed in the lead up and had planned the wedding in secret before we were even engaged. Everyone knew they were in for a good time and this was reflected with the amazing smiles and love that filled the room.

I love being different and celebrating quirkiness. My dress was Rachel Gilbert and it was a long sleeved, cherry red, sequinned gown. I bloody loved it!!! It was phenomenal to hear everyone’s reaction and see Kieran’s face beam. He was totally blown away, which was perfect!

To walk down the aisle, I chose walking on sunshine – which Kieran didn’t know. He tells me he didn’t even listen to the song because he was so nervous! A wonderful part was my Dad walking with me down the aisle. Love him!

We didn’t have any idea what our ceremony would be like. We love Anna our celebrant and her style – so funny, so we knew it wouldn’t be boring. Our ceremony turned out to be hilarious and filled with so much love. Kieran’s sister Jo did a “reading” – she actually SANG! But she had changed the lyrics to the Trolls song from frozen and made them about us. Everyone was in hysterics and because we didn’t know she was planning to do it, we were beside ourselves laughing. It was gold. This definitely made reading our vows easier!

Kieran chose his and the groomsmen’s outfits. He wanted to wear black jeans, so he did! Rolla’s Denim paired with crisp white shirts and merino wool grey blazers from Menzclub. They looked fab and were comfortable too!

We just wanted our day and ceremony to be our way from start to finish. We didn’t care about the traditions that we were “meant” to include. We didn’t fuss over minor things. The moment I saw Kieran was super special. Jo’s reading was so special and our first dance was a goodie.

A favourite detail of our day – and we both agree, was the band and vibe they created. They nailed it. And our first kiss!

I had my best mate Kate as chief bridesmaid – we’ve been friends since year 9. And two of my besties Catdog and Tess. My bridesmaids all represent different stages of my life and I bloody love them all. Kieran had his best mate Luke (Evo) as his best man and two other besties Matt and Mitch.

Choosing a favourite photo is tough! We love Tony’s work and have been loving ourselves sick since he sent the photos. I love the one of the first kiss and the ones of the bridal party in front of a roller door out the back of Casa. There is also some beautiful moments captured with our families that we love. Clearly hard to pick just one haha.

Tony Evans our photographer is fab. He was so relaxed and knew how to make us laugh. He was also super patient. A lot of the night I had no idea where he was, but he captured everything! So special.

I honestly didn’t care what flowers we had. I did forage for a lot of pampas grass in the lead up – even spray painted some pink. But for the bouquets, I just went to the market a few days before and found what was in season. I held beautiful champagne pink roses and the girls had white gyp. Kieran’s cousin is dating an amazing florist so she made our bouquets and arrangements. Kieran’s sister Jo made the buttonholes for the lads and parents.

A stand out story of the day was Kieran’s sister and her song. That’s the biggest story from the entire day. We still can’t get over it. And I wore red. So many people commented and asked why anyone chooses to wear white!! Breaking tradition is the best.

In terms of DIY elements, we had lots of family offering to help out but this was mainly in the set up and pack up. Caitlin helped with the flowers, however not much else was fussed over. And we didn’t do wedding favours because we usually throw them out.

Our vendors were the best people. No doubt about it. Anna, our celebrant, was amazing and setting out the legal jargon, and keeping us (mainly Kieran) calm. She was funny and warm from our first meeting and made us super excited to get married. The band Jack and Jordan from Rutherford Entertainment were also fab and got the room pumping! Casa management were phenomenal to work with and made all our requests super easy. We loved doing the planning before being engaged. That way no one could harass us or give their opinions!!

We love delicious food and Kieran found Casa De Playa by chance. It has such a perfect relaxed vibe and is quirky and intimate. The staff were beyond helpful from start to finish which made it a dream venue. Everything was in the one place. Ceremony, cocktail hour and reception. This made everyone super comfy and relaxed, which we loved.

Our first dance was to Everlong by the Foo Fighters. The lyrics are just beautiful. Jack and Jordan did the most beautiful rendition. Kieran and I did accidentally head butt on our first spin, but we nailed it after that!

Our advice for future couples, do it!!! And stick to your guns. Don’t give a shit about the expectations others place on you. Do it your way.

Ms Zebra Says: I LOVE this wedding! Congratulations to this incredible couple, throwing tradition out the window and embracing everything your way! All the best in your long life together. 




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 Shoes
  • Converse (Reception)
  • Ceremony Styling
  • Amie's Brother, Wife and cousin
  • Catering
  • Kieran's Mum
  • Flowers
  • Tesselaar Flowers
  • MC
  • Kieran's Brother In Law - Sam