The everlasting memories that are forever in the photos from your big day mean it’s a hugely important decision to make. Here, Kevin Lue has given the Polka Dot Bride his top tips in selecting the RIGHT photographer for you.

It’s OK to shop around, however Kevin says the key factors to keep in mind are:

  • You feel comfortable – it’s important that you feel you can be yourself in front of your photographer; you feel relaxed, can talk freely & feel that you all “click”
  • You’re drawn to their previous work – they have a wow factor, are unique or their work really connects with you and your vision. “A picture speaks more than words ever can”
  • Don’t discount a photographer if they’re initially over your budget – It’s important, but shouldn’t be the focal point in deciding on a photographer. Sometimes price can be negotiated, so don’t be put off straight away if it’s too much of a stretch on the hip pocket. “I always think, money can be earned back, but moments only happen once.”

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Ms Zebra says: Choosing the right person to capture your big day is a HUGE decision. They are in charge of how everyone will remember those magic moments. Luckily, Kevin Lue (and his beautiful photography) have some great tips to finding the “one”!

Kevin Lue is a Sydney based wedding photographer, artist and photo journalist, who loves to travel all over the world to capture stories. Starting his wedding photography studio in 2009, his only regret is he didn’t start sooner! With a passion for unique and individual photos, he will ensure you have a gorgeous storyboard of images to cherish forever.



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When we think of Italian grazing tables, abundance always springs to mind. Shady trees, rustic tables and chairs, lots of family and friends and above all laughter, red wine and great food. Tables groaning with homemade salamis, cheeses and pickled goods – helping ourselves to the feast, and shielding ourselves from the summer sun. What better way to spend a lazy afternoon or provide for your guests in a wedding feast.

Today our friends at Your Private Chef have shared this wonderful Italian-inspired catering shoot with us for our dedicated Italian Month. Feast your eyes on the long tables filled the most delectable cheeses, fruits, meats, breads (the list goes on!). Be inspired to create something similar for your wedding celebrations or simply hand over the reigns to Your Private Chef have them set up something equally as stunning and delicious for you.

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At Your Private Chef we love all things Italian. In fact our Executive Chef and Co-Founder, David Kolembus trained in Melbourne’s best Italian restaurants and his menus have a distinctly Italian flair to them. And what says Mediterranean more than a rich display of grazing platters styled impeccably on a hardwood banquet table? Our Italian themed grazing table of course.

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An antipasto grazing table is the epitome of the saying ‘eat with your eyes’ and so the first rule is to make sure it looks opulent, layered and generous. Give your table height and texture by using pillars of various heights to stand platters on and long native foliage to create a ‘bed’ for your platters. We definitely recommend placing all your edibles on platters. We see so many tables on Instagram with food directly on the table and we feel not only is this not very hygienic, it is also not very practical for an event. Once your guests start grazing, platters make it easy to refill as needed and tidy up. Check out this video of a table we did recently. This was at least 30 mins into the reception and you can see how neat the table still looks, even though it has a ‘deconstructed look’ about it.

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We love to use wooden grains and big bread sticks for our props. We even use vintage books and acorns, fresh fruit and other interesting textures to get people’s eyes excited for the feast. We love a table that looks almost regal, fit for a Roman Empire!

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For larger groups and if space permits, place your banquet table in the centre of your room so guests can eat from all sides. Take care to create a symmetrical and balanced look for the position of your platters, You can get ‘organic’ with how you place your food on the platters, but having a balanced foundation does give that professional edge to your table. Allow yourself enough time to do this so you can enjoy the styling and not feel pressured. And remember to choose the best ingredients possible. At its heart, antipasto is actually very simple. So choose beautiful artisan breads, cheeses, cold cuts and marinated delicacies that will satisfy and warm your guests hearts and bellies as they arrive for your party.

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About Your Private Chef: When every last detail needs to be utterly perfect you can completely rely on Your Private Chef Catering & Events to provide an unforgettable gourmet food experience with exceptional service. Your Private Chef delivers unforgettable wedding catering – Melbourne style – fusing fresh flavours with the best ingredients to suit all budgets.

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Have you considered something different for your wedding invitations? What about wood or acrylic invitations, signage, or laser engraved wood in mandala placemats? And my favourite? Agate place settings adding a pop of deep colour which are a beautiful gift in their own right. All this and more comes from the creative mind and  hands of Erin of The Rustic At Heart. Erin has added hand painting to her designs, tying together your wedding elements and colours, but you can still have a beautifully simple look just using wood or acrylic with lustrous lettering. There is something elegant about simplicity and having your monogram and stylish lettering on an invitation sets the tone for the occasion yet to come. Wow you guests with this really different take on your stationery which will add that extra touch of magic to your day. Grab a cuppa while you read Erin’s inspirational story.

Why did you decide to become a stationer – or would you describe your business in a different way?

I have always had a love for all things weddings and creating and my husband has a love of the country and timber, so together the combination led us down the path of laser engraving for the wedding industry. It seemed liked the perfect combinations for our passion and has formed what is now The Rustic at Heart.  I tend not to think of us as a Stationer as traditionally that would describe paper and card. Our main focus is on materials that are unique and textural to create something truly special for those big days and memorable occasions.

Image by Bonnie Jenkins Photography

What sets you apart? How would you describe your style?

Our choice of materials, make us different from other Invitation and Stationery suppliers. When we began we focused on timber items and a very rustic country style. Over the last four years our collections have focused on following market trends and have lead to the inclusion of acrylic and leather engraving. Even more recently we have started exploring engraving on to agate and semi-precious stone.


Left image by Mallory Sparkles Photography, Styling by Mask Events Australia, Florist – Bloodwood Botanica. Right image by Twig and Fawn Photography, Dress Goddess by Nature, Model Allira Ashwell


Images by The Rustic At Heart

What is the extra ‘dimension’ that using acrylic and timber gives your work?

There is a real textural experience about receiving an invitation on timber or acrylic. The products are so different to a traditional paper invitation that they create some real excitement. A simple layout of text or simple monogram etched on timber can transform into a stunning rustic or tropical wedding announcement that is truly delightful for the guest to receive. Use a similar design on an acrylic base and the scene can be set for a modern, black tie, or industrial theme wedding.

What made you decide on using these products for your stationery collections?

Timber was a simple choice. I love the textures and tones of wood grain and the effects and moods it creates when teamed with different coloured envelopes and twine.

Acrylic began with an experiment to add some colours and modern options to our range. We never could have imagined the elegance and beauty some of these design have created when etched on acrylic. Their popularity is growing but wood will always be our favourite.

Image by The Rustic At Heart

Are they expensive to post?

The great thing about our range is that they are light enough and thin enough to be sent at the same cost as a paper invitation. Your only price increase from your standard letter cost will be from the size of invitation you choose to work with. We offer A6, DL and Invitation size (13×19). Our standard A6 and DL size are standard letter cost per envelope.

Do you use colours on your acrylic and timber pieces or does the process you use not allow for colour?

We have recently started working on a range of engraved wooden signage that has a hand painted element. We are very excited to add more of these to the shop in the coming month. Our acrylic range allows us to use a paint fill on the etched surface setting a strong colour in the design and allowing our designs to compliment any colour scheme. We offer a standard range of colours but welcome custom orders.


Left image by Mallory Sparkles Photography, Styling by Mask Events Australia, Florist – Bloodwood Botanica. Right image by Kaitlin Maree Photography, Flowers by New England Flower Co.

How can brides tie their timber or acrylic stationery into their wedding colour or décor scheme?

Envelopes and Envelope liners are a great way to add some colour and pattern to the stationery and give the guests a little insight into the day to come. Adding a simple green tropical leaf liner to a Kraft envelope can make a timber invitation take on a tropical persona.  Acrylic invitations can be paint filled as well creating a little extra wow. Gold or Black fills can create a striking sense of elegance. Whereas a white fill can be flexible for so many occasions and themes.

What other items do you offer to the bridal couple for their wedding?

We offer a wide range of Save the Dates, Invitations and matching stationery pieces for the announcements. We then provide complimenting Signage, place settings, table numbers, cake toppers and tags. We also offer items such as Boxes (Wishing well or Ring), Custom engraved jenga sets, coathangers for the bridal party and cufflinks for the gents.

Image by The Rustic At Heart

Your placecards look really fun. Would you please describe your timber and also your agate pieces to us?

Timber place cards are a really fun way to set out your seating plan. They are laser cut from thin timber and provide an alternative to traditional card place settings. They come in a range of fonts and can also be finished in a number of colours to allow you to match your style and colour scheme. The wooden names look stunning set out across the tables and we get an amazing response from guests.

Agate place settings are almost a little gift on their own! They are laser engraved with individual guests names providing such a unique keepsake for guests. The colours of the agate can be mixed or a single colour for all pieces. The choice of colour can take the look to a more bohemian style affair or the more formal grey agate looks divine as a beachside place setting.

And you can design place mats! Are custom designs a special part of your business?

We love custom designs and do a lot of them behind the scenes. Brides always have such amazing ideas on how they would like their day to look, and we love helping make that happen. Placemats are a great way to add some colour to a table setting and look stunning under glass plates. We can do timber mats or something really exciting like our blue and gold mandala mats.

Image by Wildflower Weddings, Flowers by Inspired by love events

Signage for the wedding seems to be gaining in popularity. Please describe pieces do you offer? Are there any handmade elements on them?

We offer a range of laser engraved rectangular, square and round welcome and table seating signage. These can be cut both on timber and also on acrylic. We can match the design to any invitation package or style we have created allowing for a flow on from the stationery suites. This includes us hand painting our Bohemian Brights Signage range or our new hand drawn motif elements.

What we are totally crushing on at the moment is our round hoop signage. They have been immensely popular with our couples for their reception rooms, Aisle/Altar and even used as a bouquet hoop dressed with flowers for the ceremony. They range from 30cm – 80cm in size and create a real impact.


Left image by Mallory Sparkles Photography, Styling by Mask Events Australia, Florist – Bloodwood Botanica. Right image by Twig and Fawn Photography

What items would you suggest to add style to the wedding aisle?

Definitely one of our hoop signs if you are looking to create a backdrop for your aisle. And it is always so inviting for your guests to be welcomed into your day with a welcome sign or a sign to direct them where to sit. These can be done with a little bit of fun and cheek like our dual bride signage. Your guests will feel welcome to come and find a seat and relax for the ceremony.

What is the process of ordering stationery or other items from you?

We are an online store of all things stationery and signage. So we recommend that customers take a browse through our various categories in our shop and then touch base about their plans and ideas. We can help them out with options and suggestions or they can go straight through to ordering in the online store. All our items are priced and have advertised timelines so our couples have all the necessary details needed to plan their purchases.

Image by Bonnie Jenkins Photography, Styling  by Buzzing Events

Do you offer stationery packages?

Yes, we offer packages to allow you to plan your day from start to finish and save a little with a package purchase. There are some set packages available online but we also will custom a package to suit your needs so we encourage our couples to get in touch if they have several items they would like to order.

Even though your pieces can be used beautifully in rustic weddings, are you finding that your pieces are used in modern weddings too?

Our items are really versatile for a range of themes and styles. Our timber invites while ideal for a country or rustic wedding can be tailored for a coastal theme or bohemian event. Our acrylic range is becoming more and more popular and not just for the more modern wedding but also in barns, warehouses and coastal venues. They can help achieve a more industrial or country elegance look depending on their styling and setting.

Image by The Rustic At Heart

Where do you find inspiration for new ideas?

We are constantly keeping up to date with overseas wedding trends and styles but find that a lot of our inspiration comes from looking at the venues and locations our couples are choosing and tailoring our products to suite. That way our couples will always have relevant options for their day.

Are you a creative person outside of stationery? Do you have other hidden talents?

I would like to think so. I have always had lots of creative projects on the go and I am a graphic designer by trade. I like to keep challenging my creative skills with courses and classes like hand lettering, pottery and painting. I recently painted a mural on my daughter’s wall and have secret plans to continue those throughout the house (don’t tell my husband).

What do you love most about creating your pieces and being in the wedding industry?

Weddings are a truly magical and memorable time for couples and being a part of that magic is really exciting and special. Being able to continually produce something unique is really rewarding and I just love seeing them in action on the big day. Knowing that we have helped our couples share their love story with their nearest and dearest in their special way is pretty important to us.

Thank you Erin for sharing your story. Creative and inspirational stationery, signage and place settings steal the show and add that extra touch of style to the day. To find out more about The Rustic at Heart visit the website.

Headshot by Samantha McGrath Photographer