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We are celebrating all things Australia this month on Polka Dot Bride and showcasing the many different landscapes and styles of an “Australian Wedding”. We are so thrilled to share these three short films by Monique Flanigan of Dreamtree Films and the stunning photography by Helen Oswald of a recent styled shoot at the historic Ben Ean Winery in the Hunter Valley.

The creative geniuses behind the shoot including Dreamtree Films, Wow Flowers and event stylists New Event Collective have given us rare behind the scenes insight into their inspirations and clever choices they make to achieve this stunning, elegant, rich and rustic but very “Aussie” winery wedding aesthetic.

Monique Flanagan of Dreamtree Films tells us:

This styled shoot was an absolute dream to capture with its decadent, luscious, moody styling and thematic elements. There were loads of florals including yellow and red roses and a sumptuous table cape laden with blooms, apples, grapes and crystal glassware.

It was moodier than recent shoots and the lighting was natural and warm with high contrast. These stylistic choices were intended to showcase the rich colours and to enhance the themes of Australian countryside and “Boho Lux”. Australian weddings come in many moods and styles and I’ve noticed a move away from the previously popular “white and bright” to a more sophisticated rich colour palette.

As a professional Wedding Videographer, I always need to juggle capturing amazing shots and keeping out of the way! One of the things that I love most about weddings is that no two are the same. All couples express themselves differently, so it’s imperative to adapt and capture the event differently too, while keeping to my personal elegant style.

I want to capture the way they look at each other, naturally smiling and laughing, rather than at the cameras. The couple on this shoot were definitely in love and actually ended up getting engaged!

Tori Pettigrew, Newy Event Collective tells us: 

When we were asked to help create a moody, winter feel wedding with a cosy, warm, family feel, we jumped at the amazing opportunity. I love the rich colour palette in this rustic yet elegant inspiration of plums, black and golds, teamed with sustainable, low waste and natural fibres.

We created a relaxed and romantic feel, layering our Newy Event Collective pieces with styling of local fruit and flowers, really encapsulating our beautiful Hunter Valley bush surrounds and showcasing the beautiful raw woods of Ben Ean Winery.

Adding in the dozens of candles and rich textures created a luxurious touch to a very rustic feel. We were inspired by the very Australian mobile “Brumby Bar” and Popcorn station to keep it fun and fresh, so adding our own flare, we included a gorgeous “picnic style” intimate setting to be enjoyed by the family focused couple.

Louise Christensen, WOW Flowers tells us: 

The theme we were aiming for with the florals was a combination of formal meets rustic, honouring the venue Ben Ean. We also wanted to combine fruit and florals to give a feeling of abundance.

The use of fruit with flowers has always been a love of mine, inspired by Dutch artists from the 17th century Baroque period, perfect for a wedding set in the vineyards. We chose to combine this look with natives to bring it back to a more Australian, rustic feel et voila! Formal meets country.

Ms Zebra Says: Wow! What an amazing insight and incredible showcase of Australian beauty! Well done to everyone involved – and thank you for sharing with us.

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.

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If there’s one place that makes you want to be invited to a destination wedding it’s Villa Botanica. Set right on the water overlooking the Coral Sea, Villa Botanica has acres of lush private gardens and even a secluded beach. It’s renowned for magical Whitsundays weddings, with five-star food and drink options, a super efficient team to plan every single detail and luxurious wedding night accommodation. Today we’re chatting to Breanna Hinschen, a wedding planner at the venue, about this impressive place and how it came to be, why it’s so popular for destination weddings and how everywhere you look, there’s a photo opp because this place is absolutely breathtaking!

Where exactly is Villa Botanica situated?
Villa Botanica is located on Botanica Drive in Woodwark which is a short 20 minute drive from Airlie Beach in the Whitsundays. Most of the guests stay in Airlie Beach and the bus brings them out to the venue. It is very private and secluded for the wedding day. The best part is you can have a relaxing holiday in the beautiful Whitsundays while you are here!

Tell us about the grounds…
The previous owners built Villa Botanica based on their love of the Balinese style. No detail was left unconsidered and no expense was spared. Imported marble floors, hand-carved antique furniture, beautifully ornate teak and merbau wood detailing are just some of the features that make Villa a truly unique estate. Most of Villa Botanica was imported from Indonesia and came over in 26 shipping containers! It is five acres of absolute beauty and our couples get to experience so many different parts of it.

Why do you think bridal couples are drawn to Villa Botanica?
Obviously the Balinese theme and beauty of the venue itself but they love that it’s a big enough venue for 100, but all the guests can get around to each location in a short walk. The fact that the venue is private and once you have hired it for your wedding it is yours and yours only for the day!

Images: Playback Studios and Stories With Mel

What’s the process of booking in a wedding at Villa Botanica?
It’s super easy! Craig is our client services rep and he usually does an over the phone/online sales tour with the couple and explains the packages and prices. Our website also has a great 3D virtual tour of the venue for those couples that can’t actually make it for a guided tour onsite.

Do couples get their own wedding planner?
Couples are assigned their own planner, yes. However, if something was to come up, our systems are centralised so that any planner could take over if anything were to happen. That being said, usually the planners are with them the whole planning process up until the wedding day.

You’re known for your beautiful destination weddings. How do you make sure these run smoothly when the bridal couple isn’t locally based?
Majority of our weddings are destination weddings. The couple do not have to be locally based as our systems run like a well oiled machine. We have created a system which we affectionately call POPPY. Our system allows our couples to log in and make selections for their wedding day, which is a great guide for them. We also conduct routine “catch ups” with our couples which we chat over the phone regularly and email back and forth for any questions etc.

Images: Stories With Mel

What location options are there for ceremonies?
Our beautiful pavilion is to die for! The aisle is every girl’s dream and the main reason our venue is so popular. The views just put the icing the cake, overlooking the pristine bays of the Whitsundays.

What are the most popular spots to take wedding photos at Villa Botanica?
Everywhere you turn is a new photo location! The whole venue itself is pretty spectacular so it would be hard to take a bad photo anywhere. Our most popular locations for photos would be The Cactarium, Mast Beach, Elephant Doors, Pond Room, The Rainforest, The Seadeck, The Black Rocks and the Aisle and Pavillion (of course). Honestly too many to choose from!

Are there different options for receptions too?
Yes there sure is! We offer two different locations which are both incredible.

The first is on our Verandah which overlooks the ocean under a beautiful set of fairy lights which is magical on its own, but once it is all set up with the table’s and décor it is just something else.

The second option is The Seadeck. Which is pretty self explanatory but it’s just a beautiful setting overlooking the ocean under the stars which is perfect on those clear nights. Complete with festoon lighting and your table settings it is just a treat!

Images: Stories With Mel and Love & Other Photography

Tell us about the menu! How much input do couples have?
Don’t even get me started on the incredible food that comes out of that kitchen! All of our catering is done by Aquava Boutique Catering who are pretty much part of the furniture here. They have many different options to choose from and are great when catering for diets as well.
What’s your favourite item on the menu?
Ohh where do I start! I am definitely a sweet tooth so their Belgian Chocolate Torte is definitely a mouth watering favourite. Sticky pork belly comes in as a close second!

Do you work with specific suppliers and/or can couples user their own?
Most things they have choice from. E.g cake makers, florists etc but our decorators are pretty much part of the furniture as well. That being said they offer so many options that couples are usually overwhelmed where to start. There is plenty of choice!

Image: Love & Other Photography

You also offer wedding night accommodation. Can you describe what the accommodation is like?
The bridal suites are just stunning! The honeymoon suite is luxurious, including four poster king size bed, private seaside verandah, indoor and outdoor bathrooms and a kitchen. The outdoor Balinese bathtub is every couples favourite part of the honeymoon suites.

What about guests who want to stay locally?
We give our guests a list of some recommended locations to help with their choices and we also offer 10% off at these locations. Sometimes it can be hard to know where to even start when looking at accommodation locations. Wherever they decide to stay, we offer free bus transfers for all of the guests.

Favourite or most memorable wedding you’ve held at Villa Botanica in the last year?
This is a super hard one as I love all of our weddings and you spend so long talking to your couples that you get to know them all separately and their personalities.

Funny memory from last month though, I had a bride who was just lovely and she insisted at the end of the day that I go and get a photo with her in the photobooth. Once we got in the photobooth we realised the countdown started to happen and I just looked at her and asked her what pose are we going to do? In a panic she picked me up and now I have this hilarious photo on my board at work of the bride in this beautiful dress with the wedding planner in her arms! What a laugh!

Images : Love & Other Photography

What kinds of trends and themes have you been noticing at weddings held there?
A new trend that is becoming quite popular is no bridal party table! Couples are finding that they prefer to sit amongst their guests and opt to have rounds or rectangles with no bridal party table. Or no bridal party at all and just the bride and the groom. This is becoming more frequent too.

What do you love most about your job?
The best part about my job is seeing the couple on the wedding day having a good time! It is so great to see after all the months of planning between the couple and I, it all finally come together and they are so happy with the results. My job is so rewarding!

Thank you Breanna for inviting us into the world of Villa Botanica! What a gorgeous location to tie the knot, and the service you and your team provide is absolutely outstanding. If you’d like to find out more about Villa Botanica and their amazing services, head on over to the Villa Botanica website or check them out on the Polka Dot Directory.

Your wedding planning process will involve what may feel like endless decision making, but one decision you definitely do not want to fall short on is your wedding venue. The setting of your wedding can reflect a lot about yourself and your significant other as a couple on your big day. More couples are opting away from the traditional wedding and choosing to style their wedding somewhere that will better reflect their lives ahead together.

Whether you are more suited to an indoor or outdoor venue, be it among sweeping fields, mountains or by the ocean, Regional New South Wales is home to an array of stunning and luxurious destinations that will cater to all kinds of couples on their special day. We’ve collated some of the best regional NSW wedding venues that are sure to make your day unique, special and unforgettable.

1. Nimbo Fork

Images by Jonathan David Photography

Situated at the fork of Nimbo Creek and Tumut River, this countryside escape offers a scenic and private wedding venue perfect for a romantic and charming getaway. Surrounded by stunning farmland, Nimbo Fork hosts intimate events with exceptional facilities, hospitality and accommodation for bridal couples and their guests. Wedding services are delivered at a high standard with a particular emphasis on sourcing both local and regional produce. This location is ideal for lovers of the outdoors who want a luxurious wedding experience surrounded by the nature they love so well.

2. The Byron at Byron

Image by Figtree Photography

Image by Amelia Fullarton

Located within the iconic town of Byron Bay, The Byron at Byron is a luxurious venue with award-winning facilities and amenities. Nestled within a lush and natural rainforest, the resort offers a beautiful backdrop for a unique wedding experience. The beautiful resort has numerous spaces which can be used to bring your wedding vision to life; The Lawn, Tallow Creek or the Rainforest Verandah as ceremony and reception spaces, as well as indoor spaces filled with beautifully designed European furniture, lighting and art.

The Byron at Bryon provides stylish and comfortable suites for guests, and full catering services for the wedding reception. A new menu designed by Executive Chef Minh Le, sees Asian influence combined with local Byron produce and classic flavours. The Byron at Byron is the perfect place for celebrations, combining authenticity, intimacy, nature and luxury – to ensure a memorable wedding day.

3. Seclusions

Images by Kevin Lue via Emily & Tim’s Classic Blue Mountains Wedding 

Located in the Blue Mountains, this wedding venue boasts rustic elegance and tranquillity. Bridal Party accommodation is in boutique spa cabins. Catering for up to 120 guests in the Pavilion, guests can enjoy canapés while the bridal party takes photographs on the stunning acreage, then join for a cocktail party afterwards.

Seclusions offers a formal, sit-down reception in the Barn for those looking for a more traditional day. The enchanting mountainous countryside is a beautiful setting and the high-end, modern style of the venue makes for a romantic and memorable destination wedding.

4. Peterson House

Image by Alana Taylor Photography 

Image by Cavanagh Photography 

Peterson House is situated in the Hunter Valley region of New South Wales and offers a classy and memorable wedding venue for your special day. The ceremony location offers something ideal for each season. With a garden setting in winter, cherry blossoms in spring and sweeping vineyards in summer and autumn, this is a property which has unique beauty year-round.

The reception is hosted in a beautiful sandstone building that can seat up to 140 guests. The Hunter is a classy and picturesque backdrop and the iconic vineyards in the region come with delicious varieties of wine to enjoy on the wedding day.

5. Bendooley Estate

Pics by Dan Cartwright via Erin & Tim’s Bendooley Estate Winter Wedding 

Bendooley Estate is immersed in the perfect harmony of beauty, history and luxury and is a space that caters to all kinds of ceremonies and receptions, from a large formal wedding to a more intimate and relaxed celebration. With many exquisite settings to choose from for the ceremony space, couples can exchange vows within the private gardens, the vineyard or in the lakeside pavilion – or can opt for a church service in one of the charming churches in Bowral or Berrima nearby.

For the reception; the Book Barn; a grand barn conversion featuring cathedral ceilings and magnificent chandeliers is surrounded by mesmerising walls of books and The Stables; custom built for couples seeking rural glamour. Bendooley Estate is perfect for couples seeking a venue with a bit of character to match their own.

6. Mona Farm

Images: by Kimberley Low

At picturesque Mona Farm in the Southern Tablelands, couples have the freedom to plan bespoke weddings. Couples are spoilt for choice when it comes to ceremony space, with 8 acres of gardens providing scenic backdrops for the exchange of vows. The historic woolshed accommodates 200 guests in a sit-down style reception and lends itself well to individual styling – a blank canvas for the couples’ unique style.

For larger groups, marquees can be placed in a number of locations on the property. In 2019, Mona Farm is set to introduce a deck where the most spectacular views of the countryside can be taken in, as well as additional accommodation for larger parties. The 124-acre property is exclusively for the bridal couple and their guests, making for a private getaway where the bridal party and their guests can spend an intimate weekend together celebrating.

Hermina Liscevic is a part of the team at the talented The Mint Partners whose creative ideas bring amazing lifestyle brands to life. Hermina enjoys all things travel, beauty, fashion, culture and lifestyle, and loves working with interesting brands to tell engaging stories.