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The Vintage Issue is not just about style and fashion, it’s also about honouring memories and taking inspiration from weddings past. Today, we are delighted to hand things over to Sarah of de lumière photography, who has generously sat down to share the story of her in-laws, Maria and Albert.

Maria and Albert were both born in Holland and grew up during World War II. Maria remembers having no food and having to eat Tulip Bulb soup, and having German Tanks rolling down the streets.

The village that Maria grew up in was Rijnsburg on the coast. It was predominantly Protestant and as they were Catholic she had to walk to the next village, Katwijk, each day for school.

Maria and Bert met at an evening of dancing – a regular social event in one of the nearby village halls. Maria was just 19 and Bert was 24. Bert grew up in Zoeterwoude, an inland village. When he and Maria met, he was living in a single room in his brother’s home as both parents had passed away.

Bert wanted to escape the cramped conditions in the home, and so Maria suggested that they move away together. There were no homes in Holland available (due to the recent war) and so they looked abroad for ideas. Maria’s sister had immigrated to Australia so they made the decision to join her.

They had to get married before they left, so quickly organised a wedding at Maria’s Catholic Church where Maria attended school and received her confirmation. Their engagement party was held over a couple of hours in Maria’s family home in Rijnsberg where her father was a blacksmith. It was an open house affair where family and friends dropped in to congratulate the couple.

They completed the legal registry marriage on the March 18, 1958 and scheduled their religious ceremony for the June 21, 1958, literally days before they left for Australia! In accordance with their religion, they did not live together as husband and wife until after the religious ceremony even though they were legally married.

On the day they married, Bert dressed in his hired tuxedo and top hat, gathered up his gift to Maria (a bouquet of stephanotis and lilies of the valley), and the car he hired took him to Maria’s home. Maria had made her own dress and veil, and both looked very happy as they left to go to the church in Katwijk.

Bert and Maria entered the church together with family and friends falling in behind them.

After a formal Catholic Mass, Bert and Maria, along with their guests, retired to the hall for a late breakfast as there had been no time before the 10.30am ceremony to eat.

Maria and Bert played games, talked and ate, with lunch also being served. The day was filled by different family members entertaining the couple, like singing, or sketches, Maria’s sister Jopie had made up a story with photos about our lives. The official photographer had left at the beginning of the breakfast and returned after lunch with all the proofs of the photos so that the happy couple could pour over them with their guests before they left on their honeymoon.

An interesting thing to note is that Bert organised most of the details of the wedding (car, bouquet, tux hire and photographer), while Maria’s mother organised the food at the reception.

Their entertainment at the reception was a record player!

After the reception ended and they said goodbye to their guests, Maria and Bert were invited to visit The Hague by her godparents for their honeymoon. They were quite wealthy and took the couple out for dinner at fancy restaurants and attended museums and plays together.

Merely days after their wedding day, Maria and Bert boarded the Wasserman in Rotterdam for a one month trip across the ocean to Fremantle, Australia. The ‘Waterman’(Wasserman) was really a cargo ship, which they had converted as a passenger ship, first to bring troops to and back from Indonesia during and after their war of independence. Later, it was used as a migrant ship. They were both allocated a cabin, but Maria shared with five other girls and Bert with five other men. The cabins were really cramped. Maria had a top bunk. Apart from the 3 X 2 bunks and a little wash basin, there was not much room to move. Bathrooms were shared by quite a few people!

The first few days on board were lovely, but as soon as they hit the Bay of Biscay the trouble started. As the ship was very high on the water, it rolled on the sea. All loose furniture was tied together every time they were on rough seas which was often! Maria was very seasick in the Bay of Biscay. They had told Maria to stay outside on deck. It was cold and wet and she stuck it out for awhile. In the end, she went to her cabin and found out that when she laid down she did not feel sick at all! In the Mediterranean Sea things were better for a while; they enjoyed that.

After arriving at Fremantle they were allowed to go on land for the day. They took the train to Perth and had a look around there. Then over to Melbourne. In Melbourne they took a bus trip into the Dandenongs, that was beautiful. Then they were on their way again, the last part of their journey! They sailed into Sydney on a fine July morning. Their first view of the harbour and it was breathtaking! The harbour bridge and the foreshores. They sailed under the bridge and finally docked.

They were met by their brother-in-law and travelled up to Lawson in the Blue Mountains to stay with Maria’s sister until they found alternate accomodation. Bert was a builder by trade and found work through his brother-in-law. It wasn’t long before a home was available in North Narrabeen where they stayed for two years, with their first son being born while they were there. They had two more sons, born once they moved to the mountains.

Maria and Bert had fallen in love with the Blue Mountains and bought a cottage on the Great Western Highway in Lawson, which Bert spent some time doing up before they moved in in January of 1960. They bought their first car in 1967, a VW beetle! They stayed in the house on the highway until 1980 when they bought a block of land (still in Lawson) where they built their home. Maria still lives in this home, Bert having passed away about 10 years ago. The gorgeous old house on the highway was knocked down when the new highway went through, but a persimmon tree still stands where the yard used to be.

Maria and Bert only returned to Holland one time after they left (family visited them in Australia regularly, though) and noted on returning that they were glad to live in such a gorgeous country as Australia.

Pictured (above & below) Maria’s parents Gerandus Leonaardus Aloysius Grimbergen (what a name!) and Maria Josephina Caspess on their engagement and subsequent wedding day on the 9th July 1924.

Ms Floral Says: Thank you Sarah for sharing this piece of family history – such a fascinating read and hearing all about Maria and Bert’s wedding details and journey afterwards was an absolute treat!

About de lumière photography: At de lumière photography we focus on what will matter to you in years to come rather than this year’s hottest photography trend. It’s about the moment your mother tears up watching you walk down the aisle or the first smile that you exchange as a newlywed couple. We’d be honoured to share life’s priceless moments with you.

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We all know that the warmer months are more often associated with ‘wedding season’. However, winter weddings are more than well worth your consideration.

As a wedding videographer, I’ve filmed weddings all year round, and I’ve realised that the weddings in winter have been just as wonderful, if not better! I loved working on this beautiful wintery shoot! The key inspirations were, autumn/winter, country, rustic, old fashioned charm mixed with a few contemporary elements.

Here are just five of the many reasons why winter weddings are amazing:

1) Unique photo opportunities
The high contrast offers vibrant and striking imagery. For example, a red lip with fair winter skin, or deep scarlet roses against a frosty backdrop. Magic. The colours really pop in the cool winter light. There are so many unique images that can be created in winter which makes for gorgeous videos and photos.

2) The light is super flattering.

What us cinematographers call ‘flat light’ really is the best. The high contrast lighting on a bright summer day is the worst for portraits, creating harsh shadows on the face and highlighting every line and imperfection. Professional filmmakers and photographers have to wait for cloud cover or set up a screen to block the light.

In winter, this is rarely necessary, so you get more quality images in less time and everyone looks fantastic.

3) Availability
Summertime is such a busy time for everyone trying to balance jam-packed social schedules. Whereas in winter, your guests will relish the opportunity to get out and get dressed up!

Another big bonus is that in the quieter season, your preferred vendors and venues are much more likely to be available for bookings on your preferred date.

4) Cost effectiveness
As with the above, your venues and vendors aren’t as busy in the colder months therefore you can often take advantage of some sweet deals. Flexible options and reduced rates are often a big incentive to book your wedding in winter.

5) Luxe and romantic wintery textures and styling
Aside from great lighting, another thing that professional videographers and photographers LOVE is texture! The rich and sumptuous textures in clothing and furnishings during winter – think faux fur, sequins, velvet, wool, etc – are a stylists dream and look AMAZING in photos and video. Those rich greens, deep orange, gold and red tones are so decadent and dreamy, so make the most of it!

Ms Floral Says: Winter is such a magical time of year and I love how this shoot and your tips highlight how incredibly special weddings held in the colder months can be. Thanks Dreamtree Films!

About Dreamtree Films: They specialise in Wedding and Event Videography. We aim to showcase the beauty of every event and to find the unique stories of the people involved. Every couple is different and so is the style of their wedding day, so it’s our job to capture that. We create stunning images that will be treasured for many years.

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.

Erica Evans of Erica the Celebrant believes that everyone deserves to marry the one they cannot live without. And that’s where the magic begins! In creating your dream ceremony, one that encompasses all that you are as individuals and as a couple, Erica invites her clients to have fun with the process. Through sharing your story with her, she will weave your personalities so skilfully throughout the words and moments of your ceremony. Today, we chat to her about why she wanted to become a celebrant, some surprising facts about the job and what sets her apart from others in the profession.

Where are you based?
Melbourne. But I live on the north side of town.

Do you travel for weddings?
I sure do! I love to travel for weddings. I think most of my weddings this year have been destination weddings.

How long have you been a celebrant?
Two years now and I LOVE IT!

Why did you want to become one?
I felt I always had the personality to be a great celebrant. I love to have fun, celebrate and who doesn’t love LOVE! My philosophy has always been that everyone should marry the one they cannot live without and I love being part of their special day.

I had been to so many weddings where the celebrants were so dull and lack lustre and the ceremonies were obviously just a cut and paste number. So, I thought yeah, I think I will give that a go. So, after a couple of years contemplating, I enrolled.

I love getting to know all of my couples over wines, coffees and chats. The magic of the ceremony is all in those catch ups. My couples and I create a great friendship and it’s so sad when it’s all over and I don’t see you anymore. But I often do!

Images: Ashleigh Haase Photography

What do you love about your job?
I love the big ol’ love fest that you walk into when you meet your couple. I love the laughs, the tears and the fun we have together along the journey to the big day.

How would you describe your celebrant style?
Fun relaxed and a little bit cheeky.

What sets you apart from other celebrants?
Probably the way I can instantly make you feel at ease when we meet. I want to know about your big day, but I also want to get to know you! I want to know the ins and outs, the quirks and the crazies of your relationship so you can have the best day ever. I want your day to be reflective of you both as a couple so you will be involved in all the ceremony writing and runnings of the day. I will just be there for guidance.

Tell us three surprising facts about your job?
1) It’s emotional (not just for you… but also for me when I’m writing your ceremonies).

2) It’s hard saying goodbye. It’s like being broken up with.

3) It really is a great job but it’s also hard work. I know some people baulk at the price of celebrants and think that the work is just simple and an hour on the day, but it is so much more than that. It would be at least 20 hours of work each couple. And I love it. But as the saying goes you get what you pay for.

Image: Balkan Photography

How far in advance do couples need to book you in?
Ideally, I would say one year ahead in peak wedding season. It’s always worth an email or enquiry to see if someone is free. You never want to miss out on your vendors, so I always say if you are interested/want a vendor… don’t wait too long to book.

What’s the process after booking you in?
A meet and greet usually over a wine or coffee. (In recent times it has been a FaceTime or Zoom with wine).

We will do your paperwork in the first catch up and get an idea of what you are thinking for your wedding day. I will go through my celebrant kit and chat about what you might like included.

On the second meeting, we sign the paperwork and finalise details.

I will then email you a questionnaire and this is how I start the ceremony. Once I have finished a draft, I send to you both (without your vows) and we go from there. I will happily change anything you like, but I would say nearly all of my couples love the first draft and it’s only minor details that need changing.

Image: Emma Wise Photography

Any tips for couples writing their own vows?
Definitely do it! You will never EVER regret it. It is such a lovely surprise for your loved one to actually hear on your wedding day. And to know that it is personal, intimate and only written by you… then that’s the best.

Some of my couples want to write their own vows but don’t want to actually say them out loud so I suggest saying the legal vows then creating a brief moment in the ceremony (or after if it suits better) where the couple each reads a love letter to themselves that the other has written.

And if you don’t want to write your own vows that is 100% okay too. I will always help you out with some examples or you just say the legal vows only. Simple!

How do you approach the wedding day?
I LOVE the wedding day! It’s the icing on the cake and I still get a little nervous each time to be honest. I spend a lot of time on my outfit! As I always want it to suit the vibe, the couple and the location.

I arrive at your wedding location an hour before (most of the time I’m there earlier). I introduce myself to your venue, if I don’t already know them. And then I set myself up. I take some photos and set up. Once I have steadied the groom, I do some final touch ups and mingle with the guests… then it’s GO time!

How do you make each ceremony you do super special?
I make each one different and unique. No couple is the same so no ceremony should ever be the same. I write each bespoke ceremony carefully using my interactions with my couples at our catch ups, phone calls, emails and from the questionnaire.

Images: Robert Geary Photography & Guy Evans Photography

What’s your advice for brides and grooms for keeping stress to a minimum on their big day?
It’s your day! Do it how you want to do it! Not how others tell you to do it. The best weddings are often simple affairs with a great venue, styling and food. You don’t have to spend thousands on a wedding. Stalk Instagram, get ideas and ask me!

Most memorable wedding you’ve been a part of?
There have been loads, but the one that springs to mind was out in Gippsland last year. My couple arranged a flyover by a jet to signal the start of the ceremony. It was a total Top Gun buzzing the tower vibe. The best.

Best testimonial you’ve ever received?
It was actually from an elopement I did in the Yarra Valley last year. It was a big surprise to pull off and we did it! It was the best and the couple spoilt me with the loveliest gift and review.

When you’re not working, where would we find you?
Working as a nurse. I love being a celebrant but I’m not ready to give up nursing just yet. I still love it!

Image: Balkan Photography

Thanks Erica for sharing your story with us and for creating so many beautiful, bespoke ceremonies for lucky brides and grooms out there! To find out more about Erica and her services, head to the Erica the Celebrant website or check out Erica the Celebrant on the Polka Dot Directory.