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In the last year the way we live, work and enjoy ourselves has completely changed, but those who had weddings booked in have faced a particularly daunting challenge. How to plan among shifting restrictions? Where to have a wedding, who to invite and how far out to lock it in? In the face of uncertainty, many have pushed their weddings to next year, while others have opted for smaller and more intimate celebrations, even eloping to tie the knot. For those that have gone this route (kudos on the bravery!) we thought we’d piece together some tips on how to dress for elopement in style.

Formal

There’s something to be said for those who say, “We’re getting married in private so it won’t matter too much what I wear!” Opt for a tux in black, navy or cream, and have fun with the details – satin lapels, bow tie and waistcoat. Whether there are guests or not, it’s still the biggest day of both of your lives, and your outfit should reflect that (you want to make sure you’re looking like perfection in those photos). Or, if a tux is taking it too far, design a classic navy two-button suit from one of our 100% Australian Merino wool, paired with a cotton cutaway collar shirt and silk or wool tie. Regardless of what you choose, the style guide should be effortlessly timeless and the suit should be versatile, so that you can reach into your closet for many years into the future and know you’ve got a practical, well-designed and perfectly fitted garment on call.

Smart Casual

This is the sweet spot most will settle on, because smart casual guarantees you’ll look appropriately dapper for your big day while offering you a few quality and versatile garments that can be worn at many other occasions. We suggest a quality pair of cotton chinos or woollen tailored trousers, paired with a crisp collared shirt and blazer crafted from wool, linen or cotton (or a blend). With the jacket, a deconstructed option with casual patch pockets and stand-out buttons will ensure it’s more versatile in the future, pairing easily with denim or more formal options. With colour, we suggest thinking about where the elopement will occur, as well as when – summery types of ceremonies would be perfect for lighter pastel shades, while a more conservative town hall or wintery affair would lend itself to dark and neutral colours.

Casual

Just because you’re not making a big deal of the wedding doesn’t mean your outfit shouldn’t be striking and perfectly fitted, regardless of how casual it is. We suggest opting for an impeccably fitted pair of chinos or woollen trousers in a timeless fabric, with a tailored shirt in a colour that emphasises your best qualities. We find a Mandarin collar shirt with a lightweight linen is popular for summery events, while a crisp Oxford shirt crafted from sturdy cotton in classic white is ideal for winter. Tuck, or untuck: it’s your wedding and it’s up to you! But make sure you invest in a quality pair of shoes, because they’ll inevitably get a lot of attention with a simple outfit. We’d recommend a pair of leather or suede loafers from a top brand.           

If you’re considering getting hitched in the coming months (by yourselves or with an audience!) book an appointment with an expert stylist at InStitchu, or take the online shopping portal for a spin at institchu.com

Ms Floral Says: Such stunning suits! These are fantastic tips, because just like weddings, elopements come in all different styles.

About InStitchu: We believe that every man should be able to afford high quality tailored suits and shirts. Our customers order by designing their own tailored suit or shirt from scratch or can use an existing design from our collections page. With a guaranteed fit policy, we have strict quality control procedures to ensure our tailored suits and shirts meet the highest quality standards expected by our customers.

You can book in for an appointment at InStitchu to discuss your options with an expert Stylist at one of their many Showrooms, or dive in and design your dream suit online right now.

 

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If this crazy year has made me realise one thing about weddings, it’s how important the celebrant is! Because really, besides your partner, they are all you need when it comes to saying ‘I do’. That’s why it’s crucial to choose a celebrant you like, and one who makes you feel comfortable and confident when it comes to your ceremony. Megan Jordan is one of those fab celebrants who really looks after you. Megan creates personal, unique ceremonies that are all heart and laughs. She likes to make sure that your ceremony is the highlight of your wedding day, and that it will be engaging and authentically you. Megan does this by taking the time to getting to know you and finding our what you want out of your celebration. Below, she shares more about her celebrancy style and offers some beautiful thoughts on weddings and elopements in 2020.

Where are you based?
I’m based in gorgeous leafy Eltham, but I travel all over Victoria and Australia, for celebrations.

How long have you been a celebrant?
Late last year I left my day job and took the plunge to go full time with my amazing business. I’ve been a celebrant for two glorious years and it’s the job that makes my heart sing.

Why did you want to become one?
I’d been to so many weddings that were at best forgettable, and at worst slightly cringey. I felt like, too often, the wedding didn’t feel like it represented the couple that we were all there to celebrate.

I’ve always been a storyteller. For as long as I can remember, I loved painting pictures with words and marking moments with ceremony.

Weaving your words into a narrative, holding the space for you on your wedding day and telling your story, is the best job that I could have ever hoped for.

Image: Dijana Risteska

How would you describe your celebrant style?
My style is warm and engaging. I’m lighthearted and joyful, but can hold the space with a sense of ceremony when we’re down to the serious bits.

I’m super organised and will have your back all the way through the planning process, right up until you say ‘I do’.

What sets you apart from other celebrants?
Before my marriage celebrancy adventure, I was a social worker. I’m used to making sure that my clients, their goals and wishes, are at the centre of my work. I won’t tell you how it has to be. I will spend the time to get to know you, and work with you to create a ceremony that excites you.

Throughout the planning, right up to the big day, I have your back. I don’t mind you sending me a million emails, or calling ‘just to check’. And on the day, if you’re feeling a tad overwhelmed, and you just need a moment, I’m there for that too.

I make sure that I only book one ceremony a day so that my energy, can be completely focussed, on you and making sure your wedding is as memorable and beautiful as possible.

I also pride myself on having an ethical eco-conscious business, and offset all my car travel with a yearly subscription to Green Fleet – who is helping to re-forest Australia with gorgeous native trees for tomorrow.

Images: Rweddings & David Fowler Photography

What kinds of weddings have you been a part of?
All sorts! Big weddings and tiny weddings. Gorgeous garden parties and farm festivals. Edgy urban wineries and coastal vineyards. On stage at the Westgarth Cinema, and down at the beach with our toes in the sand.

Whatever the location, I find that the couples who invite me to be a part of their day, want their ceremony to be the highlight of their wedding day.

They want to tell a little of their story together. They want to have a laugh, without loosing the heart of the occasion. They want a celebration that is unique and memorable. Simple and beautiful.

Have you done any elopements? What do you love about them?
I absolutely adore elopements. It is the most beautiful, intimate and intentional way that you can get married. Without the pressure of a hundred guests and Aunt Beverley giving you the evil eye because her twins weren’t invited, you can just focus on what matters. You and your partner, the love you share, and the promises you want to make to each other.

Image: Caroline Sada Photography

Any COVID elopements this year?
Not yet!

For anyone planning a wedding in 2020, I know how challenging it has been. Being down in Melbourne, it’s been tricky to have a wedding the last few months (even a wee elopement).

I know how hard it is to re-imagine what a wedding might look like, when you’ve dreamed of things being ‘a certain way’ for as long as you can remember. But you know what? Staying together through a pandemic, coming out the other side stronger, and more in love than ever before is absolutely incredible.

Choosing to elope, or have a micro wedding, is such a beautiful way of reclaiming 2020, and honouring everything you have overcome together.

How far in advance do couples need to book you in?
Generally about six months is more than enough time. That said, with COVID turning the world on its head, I’ve actually still got a lot of availability for this spring. If you think I’m your kind of person, just give me a buzz, I’d love to hear from you.

Image: All My Wednesdays

What’s the process after booking you in? (Meetings with the couple, writing vows etc)
Getting married is about the most personal thing you will ever do. It’s so very important that you are comfortable with the person doing the marrying. Because of this, before booking, I am more than happy to meet up to have a chat, and to see whether I might be a good fit for your celebration.

Once you’ve decided you need me there with you on your big day, we get started straight away on your Notice of Intent to Marry. Getting this locked away as soon as we can is great because it means you can tick it off your list and feel crazy accomplished. Doing it early means that you can then have flexibility with your dates should you need to bring your wedding forward for any reason.

Over the months leading up to your wedding I’ll walk you through the whole process. I send your ceremony planning resources and a love quiz for each of you, so that I can make your ceremony so unique to you that your guests will ask how long I’ve been a good friend.

I give my couples the option to save the content of their ceremony as a surprise for the wedding day, or to read over it in advance. This is your wedding, and at every step, you are completely in control of the process.

If you’d like to write your own vows, I have some awesome resources for vows that will wow. I’m also happy to give you advice if you’re struggling and print them up on the day for you!

Image: David Fowler Photography

Do you book multiple weddings on a day?
Absolutely not! All sorts of things can happen on a wedding day – bad weather.. crappy traffic.. fainting guests…

I get to your wedding super early to make sure that everything is in place for you. Doing only one wedding a day means that I don’t need to rush off to marry someone else. It means that I can be completely focussed on you, and making your experience as worry free as possible. You are my number one priority.

Any tips for couples writing their own vows?
Okay. Do not stress. Writing vows is absolutely not scary.

You love each other. You want to spend your lives together.

Get together ahead of time and agree on roughly how many promises you would like to make.

Now it’s time to get personal. Personal and specific. Think about all the things that your partner does for you that no one else does. What difference have they made in your life?

The little things are often the big things.

Do they make you the very best espresso martini?

Do they know your secret tells?

Did they agree to you getting a cat even though it makes them allergic?

Do they always clean the shower because you hate it?

Focus on these micro-moments in your life. They are the thread that holds together the fabric of your life for the big stuff; the holidays, the babies, the first home purchases, the grief and the gladness.

They are what makes up a life together, and what will keep your marriage going long after the flowers have dried and you’ve outgrown your wedding suit.

Now, how does that make you feel about them? And what kind of promise would you like to make to them as a great big thank you for being so awesome?

Whatever is in your heart is the right thing to say on your wedding day.

Image: Sarah Godenzi

How do you approach the wedding day?
With the same excitement I had for the very first wedding I ever did!

I always come prepared – I even bring along a little emergency kit for you (think breath mints, tissues and tampons).

I get there super early, introduce myself to your guests, talk with both of you, make sure everyone’s happy, feeling comfortable, and that you haven’t got anything unsightly in your teeth.

It’s all about you. And making sure you’re comfortable, happy and ready to make some great big promises, to your very best person in the whole world.

How do you make each ceremony you do super special?
The beautiful thing about meeting couples from all over is that no ceremony is the same. I write every celebration from scratch. I take the time to get to know you, what you love about each other, what is important to you (and what’s not important), so that I can guide you to create a celebration that in years to come you look back on, and think ‘yep, we wouldn’t have changed a thing!’

Image: It’s Beautiful Here

What’s your advice for brides and grooms for keeping stress to a minimum on their big day?
Don’t stress the little stuff. So long as I’m there, your partner’s there, and we have two witnesses, you can get married. Everything else is peripheral.

And if you’re having a big do, make sure you escape for a little alone time together during the reception. Just the two of you and a glass of wine. Soak it all in, and really ground yourself together in that moment. After all the excitement and planning, it’s often over so fast!

Best testimonial you’ve ever received?
“Megan is a gifted celebrant. She is warm, funny, fantastic with words and super organised. Megan made the whole process really enjoyable and helped us to create a ceremony that excited us and was unique. We couldn’t have been more thrilled with how the day turned out and received so many compliments from our guests. Thanks again Megan!” From the very lovely Amanda and Andrew.

Image: It’s Beautiful Here

When you’re not working, where would we find you?
I absolutely love my garden. There is something really cathartic about getting your hands in the soil and stopping to watch the bugs pass you by. I’m often down in the dirt, with a cuppa beside me and streaming the latest podcast. This year we’re growing rhubarb, cucumber, beetroot, capsicum, tomatoes and snap peas. Wish us luck!

Thanks Megan for sharing some insight into your wonderful career! Your words of wisdom about marrying or eloping in 2020 will no doubt be a comfort to many as well. To find out more about Megan and her services, head to her website or check out Megan Jordan Celebrant on the Polka Dot Directory.

Headshot by Megan Browne Photography

Image: S. Rose Photo

Being a marriage celebrant has never been more interesting during these COVID times. As COVID and travel restrictions keeps changing constantly, I’m finding myself changing and adapting my style to try to give my couples the best day possible during these stressful times. Flexibility is key and couples are choosing to:

  • Postpone their wedding entirely until a later date;
  • Register their marriage and have the ceremony and reception at a later date; or
  • Have their entire wedding ceremony and reception via zoom and the after party at a later date
  • Or anything in between!

The choice for every couple differs depending on their preference and the location of their family and friends and the restrictions currently in place where they live. Working in Melbourne Australia, where we have one of the strictest conditions for the longest period, it is more vital than ever to encourage my couples to make the best of things and help them see the positives to keep their spirits up.

Whatever the restrictions – masks, social distancing, hand sanitiser, indoor, outdoor, etc it’s a memorable year – let’s have some fun! No matter what happens, at least you know you will face it together as husband, wife or spouse.

Image: S. Rose Photo

Hence, this article is hoping to point out some of the important areas a couple needs to focus on depending on what decision they make and I hope it makes your wedding planning just that tiny bit easier.

For most people, with the global travel restrictions in place, it will be very likely you may have family or friends who cannot attend your wedding.  So at a minimum, most couples will need to live stream their wedding.

The most important things I would recommend are:

  • Make sure someone (not the bride/groom) have the laptop/mobile/tablet set up on a tripod or table/stool and working before start time.
  • Delegate the responsibility of hosting and managing the mute button to someone reliable online and asking that person to make sure all guests online can hear and are ready. That person is also responsible for liaising with someone (not the bride/groom) onsite to fix technical/sound issues.
  • Make sure someone online is videoing or screen shotting all the reactions of everyone and the chat – that is going to be the fun part that will make you smile! (double screens is a minimum)
  • Make sure you have a video set up on tripod or table/stool before you begin
  • If it’s important for online guests to hear you (e.g if you are saying personalised vows or doing a proper ceremony), make sure you use a microphone with speakers
  • Really consider having a professional photographer as one of your allowed attendees, or at least someone in charge of photography

Image: S. Rose Photo

For those who have close family or friends who will have to attend online, you may consider more effort will be required and do a proper Zoom wedding.  I gained full insight and appreciation of what was needed when I was lucky enough to attend a full Zoom wedding and reception recently of friends who moved interstate whilst their rest of the family and friends are stuck in Victoria or overseas. The ever resilient and positive couple Joanne and James decided they wanted to get married anyway so set about organising.  They were blessed with very technologically minded (and creative) family and friends who were keen to help out.  Based on that experience and those I was a celebrant for, here is a list of what you can consider when organising:

  • Consider time zone differences of your guests when deciding on the ceremony time
  • Ensure there is a microphone being used even if it is only five people or even consider using professional videography team for broadcasting quality footage for your guests. In the case of the latter, as some COVID restrictions requires outdoor settings consider power source.
  • Send out a schedule early. This is new to everyone and guests need to know how long they are expected to remain online (to ensure they have enough food and drinks)

Here is an example of a schedule you can consider…

  • Have a Zoom MC. (My friends Jo and James called them Zoom Fairies.) This role varies and may include but not limited to:
    1. Introducing house keeping rules – like how to clap Auslan style over Zoom, making sure everything has arrived and is ready, have a few activities to warm everyone for great footage (Brady Brunch reenactment is a must)
    2. In charge of muting and unmuting and spot lighting (for readings/speeches or special shout outs or games)
    3. Maybe instead of a celebrant led ceremony, have a zoomMC led wedding
    4. Encourage people to us the chat and cheer Auslan style and that all will be recorded for the happy couple
    5. In charge of leading everyone into the next segment or introducing speeches and simple technical explanations (if required)
  • Have someone be the Zoom IT Tech:
    1. To assist the Zoom MC with technical issues
    2. To video the whole ceremony over zoom
    3. To video and screen shot all the reactions of guests (couples love looking back at this, it’s heart warming to see who sheds happy tears for you)
    4. To video and screen shot all the conversations in the general group and sub groups! Normally guests do not get to converse during the ceremony and it is really lovely to know everyone’s thoughts and reactions.
    5. In charge of splitting everyone into their breakout group
    6. To assist with all the music and games

Taking it to the next level, you can consider:

  • Sending a drinks and cupcake/macaroon package to all your guests to enjoy during the wedding
  • For close family or friends encourage or assist them to make up a backdrop – think fairy lights, balloons, flowers, etc

Take as much or as little from this article as you need. As weddings evolve and we gain more experience, I am sure many more great ideas will come! Don’t forget to plan something lovely and intimate for just the two of you after the Zoom so you can continue on the high rather than miss everyone (which you undoubtedly will).

Most importantly, when it is time for the after party that can happen in person, it will be all fun and no formalities.

I will conclude this article with the words of my friends who bravely took the challenge of a Zoom wedding head on, “Lean in, make the most of it, and at the end of the day, it’s all part of the story we tell about our lives.  Trust your loved ones to make the most of it too.” Wise words, Joanne and James.

 

Want more? Check out How To Live Stream Your Wedding: Everything You Need To Know

Ms Floral Says: Oh 2020! The one thing I can get onboard with this year is how creative couples are being with their weddings and elopements. And this advice from Mona will still be super useful in a post-COVID world for guests who can’t physically make it to the event but would like to attend virtually. 

About Mona Chung-Chao: Mona Chung-Chao is a Melbourne based marriage celebrant who specialises in personalised weddings.

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