Bel & Dodge

Today’s wedding is such a delight, an intimate celebration filled with delicious little touches, beautiful moments and life long memories. Today you will feel transported to France, to a wedding full of romance.  It’s nice to know it’s just near Byron Bay!

Bel explains how she and Dodge met. “Dodge and I met 4 years ago doing a summer camp near Washington DC, USA; thus beginning our friendship, but it wasn’t until last October that it eventuated into more. For the next 6 months we emailed non-stop and skyped every moment we could. Then last April I flew to his hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA to bridesmaid for a mutual friend’s wedding and to spend a month with him and his family & friends. Two weeks into the trip he planned an amazing proposal day consisting of a mix tape road trip into the Oklahoma countryside, a photoshoot in a magical field of yellow flowers (by bcreative) and a candlelit dinner under a big beautiful tree at dusk surrounded by fireflies. Down on one knee, an antique styled 57 diamond ring sealed the deal. Then he finished it off with a campfire under the stars. Two months later he moved to Australia and we started our creative company [db] collective. (we are both artists/designers/photographers).

On November 19, 2010 we had our big day. We collaborated on all the design/styling for the wedding, from the limited edition personally screen printed invite posters, to the garment design, to every last piece of decoration.”

Photos today are by Sayher Heffernan who captures images with such a calm, raw feel to them. His imagination creates the most beautiful images. Dodge and Bel are wedding photographers themselves so wanted a particular essence to their shots, They flew Sayher up from Melbourne to capture their wedding day.

Bel and Dodge had their wedding filmed by Red Carpet Weddings.

Bel and Dodge were married at Deux Belettes Country Guesthouse in the Byron Bay hinterland. Bel says “Deux Belettes is a dream. It has so much charm and character around every corner. Even the drive there is divine. The grounds are leafy and lush and the house itself is warm and luxurious. Our ceremony was planned to be under a big beautiful tree in a lawn area, but due to wet weather it was easily moved into a cosy pool house with vintage French features The reception was held in a long covered arched courtyard with a 300 year old brass chandelier. The venue owners make it feel like home!”

Bel wore a gown created by Leonard Derecourt.

Bel wore a stunning mantilla veil. “I loved my veil! It was a mantilla veil with Chantilly lace on all the edges, then it was tied in a big knot at the back of my head. My hair & makeup stylist, Erin Galliene, created an absolute masterpiece of braiding and curls and magic that showed through under the veil.”

Flowers On The Run styled the floral arrangements, but Bel’s had one extra special touch. “I attached a locket of my grandmothers to my bouquet, it had a picture of my grandma and grandpa inside it. They passed away a few years ago, but they remain in my mind, as having one of the most long, beautiful and passionate marriages I have ever encountered. I’m so happy they were there with me as I started my marriage.” Bel wore blue shoes from Wittner.

The ceremony was moved to the pool house after rain threatened. ” It rained! But my crack volunteer set-up team had the pool house gorgeous in no time. We restricted our guest list to 45 adults and 6 of my little nieces and nephews. The ceremony was intimate, we didn’t need any microphones to be heard when we said our vows. Everyone could visibly see the tears rolling down Dodge’s face as I walked down the aisle. And the reception was the same.” Bel walked down the aisle to “Such Great Heights” by Iron & Wine.

The pool house was strung with white bunting, a citrus wreath and a “db”. When I asked Bel if she did any DIY for her wedding she said, “Any? Ha! How about… EVERYTHING! Hehe. We run our own creative company ([db] collective) and we always insist on such a high standard for our clients, so we just had to create every last detail for our own wedding. Of course we did hire in the services of photographers, caterers, etc, but pretty much every bit of styling/decorating/designing/planning was a collaborative effort by us!”

Bel says “As we are both devoted Christians, the most important part for us, that we really knew that God was there with us. We had our pastor marry us, who has been like a dad to me, and such a true friend. We wrote our own vows that incorporated both traditional parts and more personal and spiritual additions. We took communion as the very first act as a married couple, then we did a foot washing, which is something Jesus did in the bible to symbolise serving one another and being selfless. And I know God was there throughout the reception as we ate, drank, danced and enjoyed!”

Bel and Dodge loved their intimate celebration. “We had a bunch of family and friends come all the way from the USA to be there. It was so nice for everyone to meet everyone and to share it with them.  And it meant so much that they would come such a long way to be there. Particularly having Dodge’s Dad as one of his groomsmen, was a really special part for him.”

The bridesmaids wore gowns designed by Bel and made by a local seamstress while the groom and groomsmen were dressed by Western Emporium. Bel says ” The whole event was vintage/eclectic themed. The guys wore late 19th century high waisted pants with leather suspenders and different shirts and bandanas around the collar. The girls wore different shades of yellow in all different styled dresses with little silk bands around their foreheads.”

Guests ate under a 300 year old brass chandelier in an arched, covered courtyard. “We had just one long banquet table and the food was share plate style. It felt like home. All our closest friends and family were there and we actually got to spend time with each of them. Numerous guests have since told me how much they enjoyed it, with even a few giving it the prize of ‘favourite wedding’.”

The reception photos are some of my favourites, and the memory? I think it’s one of Bel and Dodge’s favourites too! “We asked our other pastor to be our reception MC and to our delight she actually surprised us by writing us a song! Before she played it, she distributed cut-outs of me and Dodge’s face on sticks, with all the song lyrics on the back. It was a remake of “According to Him” and thus renamed, “According to Bel”. Every single guest was laughing the entire time! It was truly hilarious! So funny in fact, that once she finished I celebrated it, with a standing ovation!”

The first dance was a beautiful one. “We danced to “Love Me Tender” by Norah Jones, in an open part of the courtyard, under a big tree, strung with fairy lights. By that point of the night I had ditched my shoes, so it was a barefoot waltz – which for those who know me well, know how appropriate that was! The videographer even got a great close up shot of my bare little toes in his highlights reel. After our waltz, and half way through the dancing with the rest of the guests it started to rain, but I think that only added fuel to the fire! We all had too much fun busting a move with the rain sprinkling down.” The music was provided by Jaye Liubinskas, Simon & Arnya Reddrop, Nathan Carlson while the cake came from Love Bites Cookies & Cakes.

Congratulations Bel and Dodge! Thank you for sharing your wedding day with us today on Polka Dot Bride! Thank you also to Sayher for sharing today’s images!

Photos by Sayher Heffernan