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Freya & Bryte

It was a beautiful blend of cultures that dictated part of the theme for Freya and Bryte’s waterside wedding at Saltwater Restaurant Fingal Bay. Their family and friends gathered as they exchanged vows before enjoying a bit of rock climbing to ‘get the perfect shot’ at sunset! In a day that celebrated both their heritages, there were subtle hints to each in many of the finer details. It’s this that we truly love to see, when a wedding is a personal reflection of the couple and uncomplicated by outside noise! Florent Vidal spun magic as he captured the day, the special moments and the loved up couple. Today, the Bride Freya details their wedding and all the moments that made it perfect! 

Freya and Bryte were set up by their mutual friends (who are still very pleased with themselves 6 years later), out of all places, at a Medieval fair trudging through mud! After a few years of being together, Bryte’s proposal happened at the peak of Australia’s highest mountain, Mount Kosciuszko.

“It was a really snowy walk and such a beautiful day when we got to the top. Afterwards we slid down the mountain on a tarp which was much easier than what walking up in the snow had been.”

Bryte explains, there wasn’t nearly as much deliberation and planning with my suit as there was for, say, Freya’s dress. My main concern was I wanted grey, but Freya doesn’t like dark greys such as charcoal, as they don’t complement my skin tone. We also had to work around Tiffany—my “best man”—and her suit, as she had to have her suit custom made because the men’s rental suits would not have complemented her figure.

Her suit was made by the tailor Joe Button in Sydney. She was very happy with the quality of the suit, and we chose rental suits for the rest of the grooms’ party to match the style and colour (mostly colour) of Tiffany’s. The distinguishing features of my attire compared to the rest of my party were the colours of our ties and pocket squares. My pair was ivory coloured to match Freya’s dress, while everybody else’s was sea/forrest green to match the bridesmaids’ dresses. Freya’s father also wore the same green tie, and Freya’s brother coincidentally also wore the same tie as us, but in a vibrant red.

Towards the end of the night, I switched from my suit into a traditional, Ghanaian kente cloth. This was a gift from my father and my sister, who organised to have the cloth made and brought it along from Ghana. The cloth is arduously hand-woven, comes in various colours and patterns, and each of the colours symbolise a different meaning, although admittedly we chose the colours based on personal taste rather than any deeper meaning. You can find meanings here.

Since the cloth is hand-woven, it is quite expensive. This prohibitively meant that, in the past, the cloth was worn by royalty. In more modern times, the cloth is now worn on special occasions—such as weddings. The wearing of the cloth symbolises that “for today, you are the King and Queen”.

My dress hunting was a little different to most bride’s experiences. Because my mum and bridesmaids live in different cities, I went by myself to find the dress and actually loved one of the first dresses I tried on. I kept looking but just found myself comparing to the original one, so it was an easy choice! It was also a very calm experience, and I think that was partly due to the shop owner I bought the dress from (Affordable Bridal in Canberra). Again, it was a relaxed decision!

My dad gave me some excellent advice for choosing the dress, that was ‘there are probably 100 dresses that will be wonderful if you choose them, because if you wear it on your wedding day it will be special no matter what. There might be 100 others that you won’t like, but you have 100 excellent choices which will be wonderful, so you aren’t looking for the perfect 1 choice, just the first you feel happy in’. Good old dad!

Brides traditionally wear ‘something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.’ But what is less well known is that the rhyme ends ‘and a silver sixpence in her shoe’. My friends also gave me a sixpence for my shoe tradition! My bridesmaids and I all wore rose gold sneakers to match my ring while allowing for practical running and jumping activities!

The couple chose ‘Here Comes The Sun’ by the Beatles. Freya’s dad walked her down the aisle on crutches as he’d torn his Achilles tendon at Bryte’s bucks party the weekend before! “I was worried he would get his crutches stuck in my dress, so it was a bit more of a wobbly walk down the aisle than I had imagined growing up,” recalls Freya. “Luckily my dad had raised me to be a strong independent woman so that I could walk HIM down the aisle!”

Our wedding felt really relaxed, it had a variety of nature including beach, rocks and trees which made it really feel like us. Because we’ve moved around a lot, we had friends and family from lots of different places and it was the only time we’d had all our favourite people in one place. This made our wedding day feel like coming home.

We wanted our ceremony to be the central focus for our wedding. Instead of a quick ceremony to tick a box, we had a beautifully tailored and very personalised ceremony from Jacie Whitfield of I Do Bespoke Ceremonies. It was an open and honest story of ourselves and our closest friends and family, and talked about our relationship and the journey we have been on and will continue to be on now that we are married.

To choose our favourite photo from the day is hard!! There are so many beautiful photos that we absolutely love. However, choosing just one, our favourite is probably the one of Bryte picking me up after we were married walking back down the aisle!

Our Bridal party was made up of Laura, Katy, Sarah and Grace as our bridesmaids and Tiffany, Tom, Aron and Ken as our groomsmen. We are so lucky to have such wonderful friends in our lives and a part of our wedding day. We never picked our bridal party based on skills and just had our best friends, however it turns out our best friends have a fantastic variety of skills, which made everything work smoothly on the day!

We were lucky enough to have an amazing celebrant who wrote a ceremony which included our bridal party in a big way. We were able to thank them all for being in our lives and they all wrote things to be revealed to us in our ceremony, it was just beautiful!

My flowers were a variety of natives from Canberra (which is where we live) and the local Port Stephens area. There are some particular gum leaves I brought to Port Stephens in buckets and the rest were from my Nana’s garden, Auntie’s garden or from their neighbours gardens!
My mum and 92 year old Nana spent hours watching YouTube for floristry tips and then put them together into bouquets for us. My Nana seemed to enjoy her introduction to YouTube! Having the flowers done in the family meant they were just so personal and meaningful.

Some of our favourite moments and details of the day were our vows to each other and the speeches, as well as changing into our kente made our wedding so special. We also had a lot of fun rock hopping for photos at dusk! Bryte and I are both rock climbers so we really enjoyed it! Climbing rocks in a wedding dress was just like a new challenge!

Our photographer, Florent Vidal was just amazing. He was recommended to us from our venue and a very easy decision to make once we’d seen some of his photos online. I think the thing that really drew us to him, was his easy going nature and quiet confidence. Florent was really wonderful to work with on the day, because he just went with whatever was happening and got photos from that, guiding us without directing us.

Freya & Bryte chose Saltwater Restaurant in Fingal Bay, Port Stephens for their wedding day. Thanks to Freya’s 92 year old Nana that they had found their perfect wedding venue! “We checked out the venue and it just had such relaxed vibes overlooking the ocean. The owners were very friendly and calm and we easily clicked. Maybe more people should ask their Nana for venue recommendations!”

We really enjoyed the first part of the planning – choosing the venue, photographer and celebrant. They were probably the most important decisions but the ones that made our wedding what it was. We really tried to choose people who were relaxed and down to earth, and we were really happy with the choices we made! Another thing we really enjoyed was having dancing lessons.

For our first dance, we danced to Genghis Khan by Mike Snow. Probably not a very popular wedding dance song, but we both have always liked the song and it made it silly and fun! We had swing dance lessons from Tim at Danzon Dance Studio. Tim was really fun and we got just enough confidence to allow us to enjoy our dance without worrying about it!

Freya & Bryte blended Australian and African symbols into their wedding decor as a nod to their backgrounds. “We had kente, a traditional wedding fabric from Ghana, which Bryte’s dad and sister brought back for us. My mum and Nana sowed the bright fabric into table runners and we also draped some over the arbour. We had Australian natives out of my Nana’s garden in small jars on the tables. It was very simple but very personal, and we think it worked really well. As Saltwater has such fantastic views and a beautiful open space with plants hanging from the ceilings, we didn’t need to do too much to decorate!”

We really wanted to include Bryte’s Ghanaian background and we did this by changing into kente outfits halfway through our reception. In Ghana the royals wear kente and so on your wedding day, as you are the king and Queen for the day, you are allowed to wear kente.

Our tips for couples marrying in the future would be to aim to plan a day which yourselves and family and friends enjoy, to choose your priorities and stick with them, and acknowledge when something isn’t a priority for your wedding. There is always more that can be planned for but at the end of the day, a simple wedding which is very personal will be remembered for all the right reasons.

Ms Zebra says: What an amazing wedding! Such an incredible way to include special heritage pieces and we send both Freya and Bryte the biggest congratulations and all the best for their successful marriage ahead!

 

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.

  • Hairstylist
  • Lilyorah Hair

Tyla & Ben

The look of love and pure happiness is something that always tugs on the heart strings! This gorgeous couple emanated both of those things as they smiled and laughed through their glamorous Gabbinbar Homestead wedding. Filled with DIY elements and an overall simplicity, Grace Wriggles captured the beauty of the day perfectly. Their day centred around the two of them as a couple and finished with a bit of fun on the dance floor! The gorgeous Bride Tyla shares everything from how they met to the planning of their special day!

Ben and I both have a huge passion for helping the next generation. We were both volunteering alongside each other at our local youth program. When we first met here, it wasn’t exactly ‘love at first sight’. We were extremely different people and would often engage in heated discussions about topics we were passionate about. Years went by, our characters softened, and we found our hearts beating a little faster than usual when the other would walk into the room. The rest is history!

Ben initially went on the hunt for a white textured suit jacket with black slim fit pants. As the process went on, a classic black, slim fit suit was his choice.

I walked arm in arm with my best friend, and Mum, into the Luv Bridal store in Brisbane, confident that a strapless, embroidered, tighter dress would be the decision. I walked out with a completely different dress in hand! My Mum knows me better than I know myself. As I was trying on the dresses, she helped me choose a dress with flowery straps, with tulle netting, and a-line shaped! A big reason behind the choice was comfort – the dress I chose was literally SO comfortable.

We had our wedding at the gorgeous Gabbinbar Homestead on the 18th February this year! The style, theme and atmosphere of our wedding reflected Ben and I so accurately: fun, chilled out, and simple!

My Dad, my role model, and absolute light of my life was able to walk me down the aisle – this was a miracle as only 30 days before our wedding he was admitted into the ICU with a detrimental health concern. We walked down the aisle to John Meyer’s version of ‘XO’.

We wanted our ceremony to completely reflect who Ben and I are as people. It was short, cheeky, fun, and hilarious! Our long-time friend and Pastor, Doug Cameron, married us and was the only person who talked. He shared some embarrassing stories from our pasts as individuals and as a couple, gave invaluable life advice, and spoke life-giving words over our future. It was everything I wanted it to be, and more!

Our Bridal Party included my best friend Emily as my maid of honour, Ben’s sister Fran was my bridesmaid. Ben’s best mate since preschool, Andre was his best man, and my brother Jordy was his groomsman.

I went into my meeting with my florist, Ruby Lane Flower Co., completely blind. I had no idea what I wanted, other than the predominant colour of white. Amongst the coffee, laughter, and heart-to-hearts, she pulled up a to-die-for mood board with shades of white textured florals. From that moment, I literally gave her complete control over the flowers. I genuinely had no idea what flowers were going to be included in the final bouquet – but fell in love when I saw the orchid, roses, carnations, disbud, gum and olive leaves and dried element combo.

Gabbinbar Homestead is like a magical land, elegant garden party, and historical architectural heaven all in one! We had our ceremony in the gorgeous all white Pavilion, and our reception under the glass-roofed Conservatory. All the heart eyes!

Grace Wriggles was our photographer and OH MY GOSH she’s amazing! We loved her creativity and how relaxed she made us feel!

The truly stand out vendors were our videographer, Mitch Birchall and his wife Chelsea. They were unbelievable! We could not recommend him enough. My makeup artist Kate from Classic Beauty Therapy was incredible.

Gabbinbar Homestead had a full wedding planning team that helped plan the wedding, which meant the entire process was stress free! Our planning meetings were my favourite part of the wedding planning process – and of course, Ruby Lane Flower Co. Best florists ever!

Our ring bearer was Doug’s 2 year old son, and we had him carry a white little basket down the aisle with our rings in it. I got the basket from a thrift store all brown, with spider webs through it. I cleaned it up and spray painted it white. I also designed the invites myself!

On Facebook Marketplace, I also found a girl who hand letters acrylic signs in her spare time! She did all of our signage by hand – it was incredible!

To spin off the old song “Forever Young” by YOUTH GROUP, we also had a custom neon sign made by Beyond Neon Signs (Josh, you’re amazing!), with the words Forever Yong (Ben’s last name is Yong!). Which is now hung up in our house.

A funny story from the day was that I forgot to bring the cord which attached to the neon sign (oops!), so last minute, my brother had to race back home to get it – totally a not-so-glamorous side to what you see on Instagram!

Ben is from The Philippines, and they celebrate with a lechon. Lechon is a spit roasted, whole suckling pig. It was amazing! Bernhard, the Head Chef at Gabbinbar, cooked it himself and he said he’s never seen wedding guests line up for the pork the way ours did!

‘Why I Love You’ by MAJOR was the song we had our first dance to. In classic Ben and Tyla fashion, we didn’t rehearse the dance at all and had no clue what we were doing! We whispered jokes to each other, laughed, and cherished the moment nonetheless. I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Our advice to any couples about to embark on this journey, please be yourselves. If you don’t want a wedding cake, don’t have one! If you want a black wedding cake, have one! Don’t let your fear of what other people think limit or stop you from enjoying your wedding day, the way you like it.

Ms Zebra Says: Thank you Ben & Tyla for sharing such a happy and glam day with us! You two look truly happy and in love! Congratulations!

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.

  • Ceremony Officiant
  • Pastor Doug Cameron
  • MC
  • Jordy Howard & Aaron Savage

Blanca & Grant

There are times when the love in the room becomes palpable and the look of love comes into its own. This is what Blanca and Grant shared as they exchanged their vows in a ceremony that was tailored to them and their beliefs. At the centre, their love for each other, but also their family and friends. Embracing a little Spanish history, the day had a bit of everything! From warm embraces to looks of love, dancing and even a few games, photographer Sam Wyper captured every moment. The Bride and Groom share their beautiful story and the tale of their special day!

Grant and Blanca met on a summer vacation after they finished high school. They were introduced by mutual friends and Grant was romantically interested in Blanca immediately, though Blanca took some time to develop attraction.
 While they met some 85km away from their homes, they later found out that they lived only a few streets away from each other! As they got to know each other better, they would spend hours just talking late at night in the car, staring at the stars.

When I (Grant) first began thinking about proposing, I decided to plan a date to work towards. In order to lock in a date without arousing any suspicion, I designed a fake invitation to the engagement party for one of my work colleagues and their partner. I gave a copy to Blanca and told her to keep the date free. 

On the day of the proposal, everything was perfect, we were both dressed in our Sunday best for the “party” and feeling excited. As we arrived at the venue (a national park picnic spot), I asked Blanca to come with me to look at the beautiful lake before we head over to the party. As we were looking out over the water, a friend of ours emerged singing a beautiful song while playing the acoustic guitar.

The Bride wore a white sheath wedding dress with lace detailing on the bodice, back and train. The wedding dress was designed and made by my Husband’s Mother. I also accompanied the wedding dress with a two tier wedding veil with very fine tulle and white heel pumps. I chose the particular design because I felt it suited the perfect summer wedding and made me feel elegant.

The Groom wore a charcoal suit with mismatched black waistcoat, white shirt, sky blue necktie, black socks with patterns, and black derby shoes. 

I wanted to wear a classy and timeless outfit with just enough formality to make the photos look elegant as the years go on.

Our ceremony was at St. Martin’s Church Killara and the reception at Manly Novotel.

We DIY’d our wedding signs saying “Welcome to the wedding of Grant and Blanca”. We bought plywood, stain and white/gold paint. We finished it off by putting it on an easel we purchased.

Our wedding had a laidback theme that perfectly represented our personalities. We both love the colour blue, and also green-gold combinations, so they were incorporated a bunch! Our wedding incorporated a few inside jokes and memories of ours – it was important for us to share these with our guests. Also, our wedding had a bunch of family from Spain, and so incorporated some Spanish music, dancing, sentiments, and an all-round Spanish party atmosphere at the reception. We think many people were touched by the sincerity of our wedding – the style was sincere to us.

Our processional song was ‘Such Great Heights’ covered by Iron & Wine (originally by The Postal Service). Surprisingly, this song was chosen fewer than 12 hours before Blanca walked down the aisle. The very feel of the song is just beautiful, not to mention the poetic lyrics. 

Blanca’s father walked her down the aisle and the whole world slowed as I watched the two of them walking towards the front of the church. The moment was just perfect and full of emotion.

The ceremony was truly the most important part of the day for us. We wanted it to be meaningful for us and for all. The songs sung and words spoken were special and real. We wanted the congregation to truly feel that they were active participants in our union and commitment to one another.

The readings were read by Grant’s older sister and younger brother. Grant’s sister read Ecclesiastes 4:9‐12, which refers to the strength and comfort that two people have united as opposed to one individual. Grant’s brother read Ephesians 4:1‐6. This passage encourages the hearer to live a worthy life full of humility, gentleness, patience and peace.

A special tradition in the wedding included having our ceremony in a beautiful Anglican church. We are both Christians and from Christian families, so the ceremony was very special to us and our families. One great tradition we included was a “unity candle” tradition. In this, we together used separate lit candles to light a common, shared candle and then blew out our own candles. This represented us together becoming one and leaving our lives as individuals to become a union.

Our favourite detail of the day would have to have been walking down the aisle as Husband and Wife and being surrounded by all our family and friends!

Our favourite photograph of the day was a photograph taken in Swain Gardens, Killara. This shot was beautifully captured by our photographer and features a simple, yet very beautiful photo of us holding hands with the backdrop of the vibrant greenery and sunlight shining on us.

Our Bridal party was made of the groom’s three brothers and the bride’s three sisters.

We wanted an assortment of beautiful pastel and white flowers mixed with some lovely greenery. There was a mix of roses, delphinium, sea holly, dusty miller, silver dollar eucalyptus and many other varieties of flowers.

Our photographer had an attention to detail and had a history of shooting various types of weddings. He took the time to meet up with us prior to the wedding day to talk about which shots were really important to us and to scout out locations around our venues with us both. We are both so delighted with the outcome of our wedding photos.

Although we had several vendors incorporated into our big day the one that stood out the most would have to be our photographer Sam Wyper. His portfolio displayed great skill as well as being very professional and reliable leading up to the wedding.

Prior to choosing our favourite venues, we spent a significant amount of time researching and visiting venues to get a “just-right” feel. 

For the ceremony, we chose a beautiful Anglican church that looked a perfect balance of traditional and modern. The church worked so well for us as it catered for a large group of people and had lawn space for a post-ceremony luncheon.

The venue we chose for the reception was a gorgeous, well-lit room in a hotel that was directly opposite one of Sydney’s favourite beaches. This was extremely special to us as this beach was one of the first places we spent time together. We also both had great memories at this beach from our early teenage years. The enclosed balcony allowed our guests to enjoy cocktails and a view of the beach as the sun went down. The venue also had oval tables, which were perfect for guests to mingle throughout the wedding.

Special details included having a few activities for the guests to be involved in such as a shoe-question game with the husband and wife where our guests got to ask the questions and have a laugh!

Our favourite story from the day came up while we were playing the shoe-question game. This game requires the MC to ask questions to the bride and groom about the two of them. Both the bride and groom raise their or their spouse’s shoe in left or right hand to answer the question. The bride and groom sit back-to-back and cannot see each other’s responses, but the audience sees all. At one point, Blanca’s Spanish (non-English-speaking) uncle came up to the stage to borrow the microphone and ask a question. He asked “Quien va a cambiará los pañales del los niños?”, which roughly translates to “Who is going to be the one to change the babies nappies?”. Everyone was in hysterics when the moment was translated into English. What a memory!

Our favourite part of wedding planning was being able to take on the project together and choose particular styles and vendors that we both loved. We also thoroughly enjoyed picking out our wedding outfits and planning what our wedding party would wear.

Our first dance was one of our favourite parts of the day. We danced slowly and closely to a song called ‘Take It Slowly’ by Garret Kato. As we held each other in our arms and moved slowly, the whole world seemed to freeze. Blanca sweetly whispered to me, “We’re in our bubble..”, which was a perfect way to sum up the moment.

Five things that made the day special to us included: having our first dance; receiving so much love and support from our families and friends; exchanging our vows; spending some one on one time during our couples shoot and the excitement and nerves right before the wedding ceremony!

Our advice for those that are soon to be married and in the middle of planning their big day would be to not focus and stress over small details and just remember it’s not just about your wedding day but your marriage.

Ms Zebra says: This wedding has all the ‘feels’ and we wish you both the absolute very best in your new life together as husband and wife! Thank you for sharing your special day with us!

 

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.

  • Wedding Cake
  • Nathan Abood