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I thought I would share with you some beautiful examples of the way some of my brides have personalised their bouquet. Most often, the brooches or lockets I see, belong to someone that was close to the bride and has passed.  This is a beautiful way of having the memory of that person with you as you walk down the aisle.

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I think it’s such a lovely touch … I’m blown away by the detail and personalising my brides put into their whole day and I first notice it when I arrive to photograph the bridal preparations. Enjoy this inspiration and thank you to the brides who have provided such lovely items to photograph!

Photography by Nerida McMurray Photography

Ms Gingham says:It is such a lovely touch and becoming more and more common. Thanks to Nerida for sharing these ideas with us on Polka Dot Bride.

Nerida’s favourite cocktails: Summer time … Lychee Martini, Winter … glass of Kaesler or any red from the Barossa Valley.

Thanks to Wollongong Tourism, I got to spend some time down on the beautiful south coast of New South Wales, just so I could tell you, dear polka dotettes, what it has to offer. My first stop was Tumbling Waters Retreat (which you can read about here) and then I made my way around to Wombarra Sculpture Gardens, Wollongong Botanic Gardens, Nan Tien Temple and the Chifley Hotel Wollongong. Here is a summary of what I saw and learnt, but please feel free to post a comment if you’d like to know more!

Wombarra Sculpture Gardens

Perfect for smaller weddings, these gardens are oh-so tranquil and very private. Owner Gaby Porter has created many of the sculptures in the gardens that give the place a spiritual and unique feeling.

What I like about Wombarra is the flexibility they allow you – you can choose from a variety of different spaces to hold your ceremony and it’s completely up to you how you set it up. Being surrounded by amazing native plants is pretty special too, and your guests will have lots of fun roaming the gardens, looking at all the sculptures that bring it to life.

Wollongong Botanic Gardens

If ‘colourful garden wedding’ is your theme, this will excite you! The Rose Garden is the main ceremony location and its gorgeous white gazebo is the jewel in the crown! It seats up to 150 guests, so it’s definitely the way to go if you’ve got lots of friends and family coming along to celebrate your big day. But if you’d prefer something simpler or smaller, there are five other popular locations within the gardens, all with distinct styles and seasons best used in.

The Temple Garden was a favourite of mine with a formal water feature and a vine covered trellis. So beautiful!

Nan Tien Temple

Culture, vibrancy, fantastic photo ops… you can’t over look Nan Tien Temple if you’re looking for somewhere fabulously different to say ‘I Do’. You don’t have to be Buddhist to get married here, but they do offer traditional Buddhist ceremonies if you are. The inside of the temple is a feast for your eyes and the temple grounds are stunning and uplifting.

There are a few lovely ponds – the best one (in my opinion) being towards the front of the temple; it has a couple of dainty bridges crossing it where the bride and groom can stand to take their vows, while the guests look on from the shade of the trees on the banks.

Chifley Wollongong

Now it’s time to talk receptions! If you choose the sparkling new Chifley, I’m very certain you’ll have an amazing time. The staff are ultra knowledgeable, friendly and accommodating – that’s always a plus! The Chifley also has some great packages including room options for the Mr and Mrs, so you won’t have to travel far when the party ends!

You can also use it to get ready with your bridesmaids before the ceremony. As for reception rooms, the Grand Pacific Ballroom is the largest and can cater for a sit down for up to 280 people or 500 for cocktail. The Waters Edge Room was my favourite though – it’s very light, airy and modern, looks over the hotel’s pool, has access to an outdoor terrace and seats up to 120 guests. Incredible on a warm, summer’s night, don’t you think?


I had such a fun time discovering the wedding wonders of Wollongong and its surrounds for our readers! Let us know where you’d like us to explore and report on next!


Wombarra Sculpture Gardens images courtesy of Wombarra Sculpture Gardens, Wollongong Botanic Gardens images courtesy of Wollongong Botanic Gardens Nan Tien Temple images courtesy of Wollongong Tourism, Chifley Wollongong images courtesy of Chifley Wollongong

Ski Boot Wedding Cake

A cake is just a cake right? Something sweet to serve at the end of the meal, a tradition? Wrong!

Weddings are representations of a couple’s style, taste and their love and life together. So why not express these things through every detail of your wedding, including your cake. We are really lucky to be able to turn client’s dreams into reality, however big or small and some of our favourite cakes have definitely strayed from the traditional tiered, sugar flowered creations. Not that there is anything wrong with these beautiful cakes, but by thinking of the cake as a canvas or as a sculptural form, you can treat your guests to a jaw dropping moment. That’s why we were so excited when, in early April, Chris was commissioned to fashion a wedding cake into boots, a snowboarding boot and a ski boot for a couple who were mad about the snow. Why boots? Why not?

Over a week Chris painstakingly sculpted the boots from cake and added the finer details in icing. Closely studying the boots at every new step to make sure the shape, detail and colours were perfect.

People’s reactions to the boots are really interesting. When shown the photo most people say “Yeah, it’s a pair of ski boots, what’s the big deal?” but when we explain that the boots are actually made out of cake and icing, there is always a fabulous response. It is so fun making edible sculptures for people’s special events and unlike the ice sculpture a cake sculpture can be served as dessert. We were thrilled with the outcome, what do you think?

Photography by Cake Occasions

Ms Gingham says: It’s not often that I’m rendered speechless … I had to double check that the photo of the cake was actually the cake and not the original boots! Amazing!

About Cake Occasions: Principal designer, Christopher Chavez, has more than 15 years experience as a professional cake artist. With a reputation for creativity and imaginative cake art, Christopher has the ability to transform client dreams into reality. We specialise in creating beautiful cakes for events including birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, baby showers, corporate events and fundraisers. Cake Occasions will accept any creative challenge, to ensure that your cake occasions become memorable events.