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Emma & Ben

A childhood dream came true as Emma and Ben exchanged vows under the tree that Emma had dreamt of since she was a young girl. The magical setting of her Mother’s garden made all the more dramatic as the heavens opened up mid-ceremony! However, taking it in their stride, the dashing couple embraced the uniqueness of their day, their way and the multiple people who helped to DIY and craft a day that was simply for them and their guests. Thomas Stewart was there to capture the special day! The radiant Bride tells of the day they created.

As my family is so fond of saying, we just went to the pub and fell in love. Miraculously, it was at a metal club in Sydney, a scene we were both a part of at the time.

We chose to put Ben in a grey suit that he could wear again (which he has) and that really brought out his colouring. We both wear a lot of grey in our normal lives, so it was nice to bring that to our wedding day too. We chose not to put Ben in a tie as he was more comfortable that way and it went with our more relaxed style wedding.

It really was the most incredible day. I spent the day getting ready in this huge house surrounded by my best friends doing yoga and getting dolled up with Michelle Cato and Ben spent the day in a house surrounded by his mates friends and his dad, drinking beers and enjoying a BBQ. A very us way to spend the day. Yes, it rained – hard at some stages. But that doesn’t make or break the day if your heart is in the right place. We were so focused and thrilled with being married that the rain just added to the day – it sure made for some amazing photos!

As an heirloom to use on the day, I repurposed the ribbon from my mums wedding dress to wrap my bridal bouquet, which was a really special thing to include.

I actually had my dress made by the fabulously talented Ruth Fattal. I chose to get my dress made because I have a very specific vision in my head of the type of clothes that I want to wear, and that carried over to my wedding dress. Being able to have the dress made expressly to my dimensions was amazing. I wanted to walk the line between traditional – with the A-Line shape and 50’s style skirt, and modern – with the clean lines and geometric lace panelling. It was definitely a dress only I could have dreamed up and worn. I worked really closely with Ruth to create a dress that I could wear again – Im very practical in that sort of way, so we created a two piece skirt and top combination (with pockets in the skirt!) that I have worn as two separate pieces since my wedding day.

We wanted something relaxed and very uniquely us. Not necessarily casual, but not formal and not stuffy. Our major thought was making sure we had the day we both wanted, and that our guests had an amazing time.

My sister and her best friend Sean composed a mash-up of Yellowcards “Only One” which was the sound track of the earlier part of our relationship and Joshua Radin’s “Today” for me to walk down the aisle to. All played by Sean on keyboard, very acoustic and non-traditional.

We held our ceremony in my Mum’s garden, which I had been planning to do since I was about 7 years old. Turns out she then turned her entire property into a wedding venue, called The Secret Garden. We are so pleased and proud to have been the first people married in ‘Megan’s Garden’, under what I have always referred to as “The Wedding Tree”. We were married on the 20th of October, a date chosen because the tree was in it’s best foliage on that date the year before – obviously a little obsessed but it certainly worked out for us on the day!

We didn’t include any readings, we aren’t religious and honestly we wanted the ceremony to just be about us. We wrote our own vows and really spoke from our own perspectives and promised each other both silly and really important things, things that were unique to us. Our celebrant, Nina de Borde included a beautiful piece about how our rings are a symbol of our love and how the stones were made deep in the earth, which was beautiful and felt more like us. It did start sprinkling during our ceremony, but it added to the drama of the moment and made for really beautiful photos!

In our bridal party, I had my brother and sister – family is everything to me and I couldn’t imagine standing up there with anyone else by my side. Ben had his two best mates, one of whom he went to high school with and one of whom was with him on the day we met. It was nice to have those two blokes, who are such a part of Ben’s life and experience, with us on the day.

All the flowers chosen for my bouquet were grown on my mum’s property or foraged from the Southern Highlands on the day, which made them completely sustainable and totally unique. I worked with one of my favourite people and best friends Kate from Two Wild Hands to gather all the flowers and branches from the natural environment or across The Secret Garden, which really allowed me to be part of creating the look and feel for the wedding.

She did an incredible job, then making her signature wild and romantic floral design style out of a more restricted palette, which was wonderful. We used all white and green foliage for that clean, minimal and classic wedding flower look.

There wasn’t a particularly special detail on the day, but it’s really important to note that I actually broke my leg in a few places about 3 months out from our wedding. There was a lot of fear and stress that I wouldn’t make it down the aisle, or I would have to wear a moon boot or something, but it all absolutely came together on the day, it really wasn’t something I had to think about which was nice. That was mostly thanks to complete unwavering support from my incredible husband and my amazing mum who just picked me up whenever I felt like it was going to overwhelm me.

We loved all our photos! I love the ones in front of the lantern arbour, I feel like we look strong and triumphant and really together. I love the pictures of our first kiss and my first dance with dad and I love all the photos of our friends and families dancing together.

Thomas was an incredible photographer – he was actually the first thing we booked, about 2 weeks after we got engaged (which was a little over two years before we got married). He had done weddings for a few people we knew peripherally and I was completely enamoured with his photos and wanted to make sure we booked him quickly! He is very relaxed, which we loved and doesn’t make you feel awkward or weird about getting very close to your partner for a great photo. He encourages you to take the day at your own pace and makes photos that really accurately capture different sides of your personality. He was phenomenal and we wouldn’t have chosen anyone else.

Our ceremony location has huge significance for me, it’s the property on which I grew up and where I always dreamed of having my wedding. Ben has also spent a lot of time on the property, and loves being there with my family. We then chose ‘The Mill’ in Bowral for our reception. This was a recommendation from my Mum actually! We love the industrial style and felt it would offer us all the options we wanted for our guests. They had actually never hosted a wedding there before, which we loved – some venues in the Southern highlands get really over used and we wanted something unique.

I feel like between us, our families and our friends we DIY’d our entire wedding. My dress was custom, my mum grew all the flowers and one of my best babes arranged them all. My mum and I collected and created our Bonbonniere (succulents in mismatched pots for everyone to take a little love home with them), I designed my own wedding invitations (I am a graphic designer by trade) and signage for the day (which was brought to life by Kate). My parents put on a beautiful spread post-ceremony and pre-reception, my sister and maid of honour wrote our ceremony music, my mum made our wedding cakes (yes, multiple cakes). Ultimately, we loved putting our own personal touch on the whole wedding!

We adored all our vendors, but honestly the most incredible one was my Mum. She worked so tirelessly to help us create the perfect day. She made our wedding cakes, she grew all our florals, grew our bonbonniere, primped and preened the garden to its most lovely and did everything imaginable to make it the dream day for us both. We couldn’t have had the wedding without her incredible love, support and effort.

I loved thinking about all the big and little things that would make the day great for our friends and family. We did long platter style tables and dinner, so guests could choose whichever food they wanted. My beautiful friends Kat and Charlie created an incredible grazing table and custom cocktail for our guests to enjoy on arrival and it was wonderful to see them really enjoy that! We had a music list that catered to everyone’s taste and everyone got up and danced at one stage or another. Planning the details that mattered most to our guests was one of the best parts of the planning process!

For our first dance, we danced to “As Time Goes By” which has a bit of a special meaning for us. It was one of those romantic surprises that Ben planned for me when we had been dating a month or two. He just put the song on while we were making dinner and we just danced around my tiny apartment holding each other. It was beautiful to be able to bring that moment to our wedding too, even though we spent the whole dance trying to work out who was leading! Very us.

One of my favourite moments of the whole wedding was my first dance with my Dad. I had picked the song, Blinded by the Light in the style of Manfred Mann. We both love Bruce Springsteen (who wrote the original) but the Manfred Mann version was the one he and I used to dance around the lounge room to when I was a little girl. It was really special.

Our advice for future married’s to be – don’t sweat the small stuff on your wedding day! Go into it with the attitude that it is about you and your partner and the rest will be easy. Be a little selfish and do the things you love – but don’t take it all too seriously. Enjoy your own wedding, it’s the best party you will ever throw!

Ms Zebra Says: We couldn’t be more happy for this beautiful couple – and LOVE the drama of a little rain on the wedding day! Congratulations newlyweds and we wish you all the best for a very happy life together as husband and wife!

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.

  • Wedding Cake
  • Bride's Mum

Amber & Jack

Their fairytale began 7 years ago and in six short months, they exchanged vows at Jack’s home town of Castlemaine. Choosing to show off everything local, they enlisted the help of Will & Jac to plan their dream day. From the rustic, Australiana colour palette to going against the norm and choosing a gold, glittering dress, Amber and Jack enjoyed an unforgettable day with their family and friends. On hand to capture the sparkle and the meaningful moments was photographer Leo Farrell. Amber details their incredible day…

Earlier this year we were away camping up the Sapphire Coast in NSW. From Jervis Bay we drove to this town called Gerroa. Jack was faffing around googling the best beaches to visit and I was starting to get annoyed at him because I was hungry and he couldn’t make up his mind on where we’d go! As per usual, he found me a snack and I calmed down. We went for a swim in this beautiful and very cold ocean rock pool at a beach in the town over called Gerringong.

Whilst there we met a lovely older couple and Jack ignited a friendship with them instantly. After going for a swim, we took our esky down to the beach and sat for an hour or so and chatted. I didn’t realise at the time, but Jack was getting me to reflect on all the beaches we’d ever visited and weigh them up against each other. After confirming that Gerringong was by far the loveliest beach we’d ever been to, Jack suddenly got very serious and a bit misty eyed. Then it all clicked! The next thing I knew he was on one knee with a ring box.

I honestly didn’t really hear what he said as I was hysterically, ugly crying! However, I remember he had to confirm my answer was yes! Once I stopped crying, we asked two ladies walking past if they would take a photo of us.

I also found out after that he had wanted to do it in Jervis Bay originally, however he panicked and changed his mind because our campsite was terrible and smelt like a bin for the whole time!!! He also wanted to do it at the rock pool but we had befriended the older couple and he couldn’t. Ever the perfectionist, Jack got there in the end!

Jack and I are both very sentimental. The house and Castlemaine has been a place of many happy memories for us. As our day was about us becoming each others’ family, it just made sense to have it at Jack’s family home and the space and landscape served us perfectly for such a big party!

Jack’s dad dropped off a present from Jack in the morning to the house where I was getting ready. The present was a wooden box of “memories” and Jack had written down special memories from our 7 years together. In there was a beautiful note to me on my wedding day. It meant so much and was a very special memento to start the day with.

We were initially going to have the ceremony at the house too however we love Castlemaine and wanted to showcase the town as well. The gardens seemed like the perfect place to do this and they are always beautiful at this time of year. We also wanted to stage the event and the house just seemed like the perfect backdrop for the reception.

Our vibe for the wedding was rustic Australian bush, which was really a no brainer for us due to the house already being all of these things! We both love Australian native flowers and the bush and our reception venue really came pre-decorated with the natural landscape. It just seemed to make sense and fit perfectly.

My amazing dress was made by Elly Louise and took about 4 months. I had an image in my mind so my Dad sketched up what I wanted and even did a visual.
I always knew that I did not want to wear white as I like wearing colour in my everyday life. I wanted to make my wedding dress the best dress I will ever wear and that to me was a gold dress! I also thought that the gold colour would look excellent against the green and rustic backdrops.

I spent some time on Pinterest and Hello May and found a image of bridesmaids in a certain theme however with different dresses. This really appealed to me as my bridesmaids have really beautiful and different styles from each other and I wanted them to feel comfortable on the day and show their own personalities. I also wanted them to be able to wear them again. I gave them the colour palette and theme and they bought their own dresses and wore similar shoes. It worked out really well and looked fun and bright on the day which was great!

Marriage to us as a couple is absolute commitment to one another as partners but also as family. To be there for each other, have each others back and stand by each other through the highs and lows of life.

We tried wherever possible to go with local Castlemaine or central Victorian vendors for our wedding as we really wanted our wedding to paint a picture of the area and everything it has to offer. We also wanted the food and wine to be local and sustainable and support the local businesses where possible.

To choose a favourite vendor is a tough one as every vendor we worked with was amazing and we would highly recommend to anyone planning their big day! However, Will and Jac were up there with the best. Working with these lovely ladies was literally the best decision we made in regards to planning the day. Not only were they so lovely and made us feel at ease throughout the whole process, the girls at Will and Jac were very professional and managed the whole day seamlessly so neither ourselves or our families had to worry about a thing on the day.

Clare and Catherine supported us in the lead up to the wedding and were there for every question or concern we had – and also made sure that our guests and ourselves could enjoy the day. We could not recommend the girls highly enough!
And, Leo Farrell – Leo is an incredibly talented photographer and we instantly hit it off with Leo on a personal level and in regards to the sort of photos we wanted to tell the story of our day.

We had so many highlights, however despite the stress at times and the work involved, we are so glad we had the wedding at the house. It just made it so much more special and meaningful and the house looked amazing.
We don’t regret anything! Everything was absolutely perfect for us. We wouldn’t change a thing.

Our favourite detail of the day was our handmade cake topper of Jack and myself that my dad who is a an artist made for us! It was fun and made our cake feel extra special. The setting at the house was also a favourite of ours. All our hard work paid off and the house made for an amazing and warm venue!

Jack’s brother and best man dragged us away half way through the night and got us some food. We had a moment away together, sitting and looking over the party. It was a nice chance to catch up and just watch the reception in motion together. It all goes so quickly so it was really nice to have a moment to be present and take everything in.

Jack and I both love music and chose ‘Stand By Me’ which is a song we’ve always loved and the words resonated with us and what we want from our marriage!

The sandwich bar at the end of the reception is a long standing tradition at Jack’s family events so of course we had to include it on our day too!

Advice we got from another friend was pick the top 3 things you want to make really special and spend money on them! Plus if you’re having a wedding or party on a large property, hire Will & Jac immediately. Seriously, anyone doing a large at home property celebration, hiring an event coordinator to be there on the day to bring it all together and ensure that you and your family/friends will have a great stress free day is the best thing you can do.

Ms Zebra Says: We couldn’t be happier for you two – the biggest congratulations on starting this new chapter of your lives 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!

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.

Taro & Tanya’s romance was born at work for Tanya and Taro who chose an elegant, sophisticated black tie wedding in Melbourne for their nuptials. The dashing couple admit they wanted music to be a highlight of the day as they took to the dance floor with their friends and family! Filled with so much beauty from the incredible dress of the bride to the dapper suit worn by the groom, hints of rose and subtle pinks adorned the flowers and cake. Tanya shares the details of their glamorous day as Jerome Cole Photography captured the moments that matter!

I had four bridesmaids, my sister, two best friends and sister in law and Taro had four of his best mates (one of which is my brother in law). We also had my nieces and nephews as the page boys and flower girls.

 

My dress was simple, yet grand. I chose it because it made me feel incredibly special, and it felt completely me. Con Ilio the designer was amazing, the experience I received was like no other. I felt comfortable, excited and in safe hands. We took a chance and changed the fade out of the skirt from white to bone, and he nailed it! He made the dress to me, and could not have been more precise and thorough. He dressed me on the day, and made sure it was absolutely perfect.

For our flowers I chose long stemmed white roses. Simple yet elegant which was the overall theme. The reception flowers were a combination of variations of pink and white florals.

Taro chose to wear a Hugo Boss dark navy tailored tux – he chose to wear this as he wanted to look elegant and timeless, yet stand out from his groomsmen who wore classic all black tuxedos.

We had so many great vendors, but our stand out was definitely our celebrant, Lara Williams. It’s rare that you get the opportunity to reflect and talk about the ins and outs of your relationship to someone for such a long period of time. It can be confronting talking about your feelings, but I loved re-connecting with the why’s and casting my mind back to when we first met, and hearing about what qualities my partner loves and values most in me. It’s quite beautiful really.

I walked down the aisle to a twist on “Simply the best” by Tina Turner. Tobi Tobi played this live for us, they were brilliant!

Our ceremony was on the lawns at Garden’s House. They are stunning and we were surrounded by so much greenery, beautiful plants and grand trees. The venue had a House we could access in the instance it rained which was just as beautiful.

Our reception was at Alto – the high ceilings, grand glass windows, bar, balcony and modern vibe is what attracted us to this venue. It’s surrounded by beautiful iconic Melbourne city buildings and we loved the idea of having two long tables and sitting amongst our guests. Tevany was our wedding planner at ALTO, she was incredibly helpful and made this a fantastic experience for us.

We wanted our ceremony to feel heart felt, funny but not cheesy. We laughed and cried when reading our ceremony for the first time, it was perfect. This is exactly the reaction our guests had too, who did not stop raving about all of the above.

Our photographer was Jerome Cole – we chose him because of the beautiful statement photos he takes, he was so easy to deal with. Energetic, hilarious and made us feel so comfortable to be around and have as part of our special day.

We had a few DIY elements. These included the menu’s, seating chart and welcome sign – my best friend has access to brilliant fonts, so we designed our own and printed these off ourselves.

A few of our favourite moments from the day are difficult to choose from and we can’t name just one! The combination of getting ready, the ceremony, speeches and music.

It was really important for us to have great music. We feel music sets the scene at any event, so it was important we got this right. We had TobiTobi play for us live at our ceremony, and we had a DJ, a saxophone player and a rapper at the reception. They were brilliant!

We slow danced for around 30 seconds before the chorus kicked in, which is where our guests joined in. Our first dance was to “Sky full of stars – Coldplay”.

If we have any advice for future couples, it would be to enjoy every part of the day! It’s a celebration of your marriage with the people you love most, that’s all that matters.

Ms Zebra Says: We are sending these two divine love birds the biggest congratulations! All the best in this new chapter of your lives!

 

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.

  • MC
  • Steve Wallace (Bride's Brother)