Sarah and Stuart

Does black tie and relaxed go together? I certainly think so and today’s couple agree. Sarah and Stuart set out to have a relaxed, black tie wedding and I think the feeling of it is utterly beautiful. It’s glamorous, it’s even Hollywood glam, but it’s a whole lot of fun at the same time.

Sarah has written so many beautiful stories about the day, I can’t wait to share them with you!

First up is how the newlyweds met. “We met on a Friday night after work when I was out with my work colleagues. It was the last Friday of the working year before we all ‘broke up’ for Christmas holidays and I was due to fly to Melbourne the following day with my family. After a busy year, going out for drinks was actually the last thing I wanted to do and declined the initial offer to join everyone. After insistent requests to join them, I obliged and said ‘only 1’! Stew was good friends with one of my colleagues and had planned to meet him after work also. Before he got there, my work colleague at the time said to me ‘I think you would really like my friend Stewy’. At the time, meeting someone was the furthest thing from my mind so I felt like I was being polite when I told Steve I would go along with it. After Stew showed up, I remember he made his one into one of my conversations and introduced himself (to this day, he still denies such behavior and insists it was me who made the first move!) As they say, the rest is history but all I know is I remember the moment that night when I thought, ‘I can see him in my picture’.  To this day, my hearts beats faster as he walks through the door and I am so happy I went out that night!”

Photos today are by Feather + Stone Photography. Doesn’t it look like so much fun to have photos taken by these guys? Fun with beautiful, stylish and funky pictures as the end result!

Sarah says “I  bought slippers for myself and my bridesmaids from Pink Frosting as part of the fun, they came in  handy when we ditched our heels and donned the pink slippers on the dance floor.” The bridesmaids wore gold peeptoes from Myer.

Makeup for the girls was by Abigael Johnston from Latonas and hair by Penny Lane from Channel Ten. Sarah says “We all wanted a natural, soft look and the girls were both amazing in achieving this! They were also a lot of fun to work with and have around on the day – it’s so important to surround yourself with fun and positive people during this time. It was Abigael who gave me the best advice on my wedding day while we were sipping champagne and watching Sex And The City – she said ‘just be’. I remembered that all throughout the day and everything turned out like a dream.”

The invitations were designed by Invitation Station. “Cara was amazing right from the start. I felt the invitations were really important as they establish the theme for your wedding and create the feeling for your guests to expect at the wedding – I felt like we achieved this. They were simple yet elegant..… well I thought so anyway! They were ivory with a latte ribbon. We used the same style/colours for the rest of our stationary. Cara was so helpful and inspirational – we used the lyrics from our first dance song on the front of our invitation (‘We could fly, you and I, on a cloud’ – ‘Kissing’ by Bliss). We also incorporated ‘A journey of the heart’ throughout our stationery which are also lyrics from the same song.”

The florist that brought Sarah’s ideas to life was Julie of Julie Vine Flowers “I had a small posy of baby’s breath (inspired by Andrea Corr’s (from the Corrs) wedding). I wanted to have something different and stand out from my bridesmaids. My mum also loves those flowers so that influenced my decision also. They were wrapped with the satin material from offcuts of my dress. My bouquet was one of the favourite things at my wedding. The groom had matching flowers on his lapel. I wanted the bride and groom to match each other and the bridesmaids match each other separately so we stood out from them on our own. i.e. it didn’t matter that I was donned in silver/diamante accessories when my bridesmaids had warmer/bronze accessories”

Sarah wore a stunning crystal brooch in her hair. “I bought it online from a boutique studio called in LA. It was love at first sight and I knew it would be a perfect addition to my outfit and the perfect feature. They sent it to me with a handwritten note, it was so special!”

White shoes were never going to be Sarah’s choice. “I wore satin blue heels from Dune (UK label but I bought them in Doha, Qatar). I knew from when we got engaged that I wanted to wear blue shoes – I thought this would also reflect my youthful and fun personality. Only if I found the right pair and shade of blue – I knew it was meant to be when I ‘stumbled’ across the last pair of these shoes at Dune in a Doha shopping mall. Another reason for choosing these to wear was I knew I would never wear cream or white (or any other ‘bridal’ shoes) again, I know whenever I wear my blue shoes now, memories from my wedding come rushing back … “

Sarah wore a stunning strapless gown by Sydney designer Helen English. “I came across the dress when on a trip to Sydney with my sisters and friend a few months after we got engaged. I then returned with my mum not long after – a trip we planned as a ‘mother-daughter’ trip. I wanted to take advantage of this special time and tie it in with a trip with mum so I would always look back and remember it  – getting my dress with her. I felt wedding dress shopping should be about the experience and not just a task to find a dress so I will forever associate this time with sipping bubbles and strolling the shops in Sydney with my mum. It is such an emotional and exciting time that goes so quickly so I am so grateful for this special time spent together.

She Helen English) is a beautiful designer with a classic, relaxed and vintage touch to her designs – I instantly knew I would end up working with her. (sidenote – it was important that everyone I dealt with, possessed the same ‘vibe’ that would contribute to our wedding – classic yet relaxed and I felt it ran through from all the planning to the actual day.) I also noticed the other girls in the store had a similar style and approach to me so that was reassuring when making my decision.

The dress was sweetheart floor length, chiffon with a heavy satin underlay. I wanted a dress that didn’t scream ‘wedding’. I didn’t want any cupcakes or marshmallows or poofs! I wanted to take advantage of being a younger bride so something that reflected my youth and fun attitude. I wanted a train as that is the only think I pictured as a little girl, having that heavy trail follow me down the aisle and having my bridesmaids hold it for me! (is that bad?! ) The band around my waist was Swarovski crystal lace which I chose to add to Helen’s design – this made me feel like it was truly my dress with my touches. “

Sarah and Stewart married at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in New Farm.

Sarah’s bridesmaids carried bouquets of  latte coloured roses, wrapped with the same ribbon, used for our stationary. The ‘bestmen’ had matching flowers on their lapels. The girls wore floor length strapless silk maxi gowns in ‘blush’ from Zimmermann. Sarah explains ” On a regular walk home from work, I stopped by one of my favourite shops for a routine browse, I fell in love with the dress instantly and was trying to convince myself of what occasion I had coming up to wear it to – then it dawned on me, my bridesmaids could wear them to my wedding!! Within 48 hours, I had the girls trying them on and in love with them as much as I was. I loved that I discovered the dresses impromptu and came across them naturally with little effort. I know my style and taste so I was comfortable that it was completely ‘me’ and perfect for my wedding. Also unplanned, the dresses would then turn out to be the only block colour at our wedding – we didn’t want anything ‘matchy matchy’ or something that screamed wedding or grade 12 formal where the ribbon matches the dresses which match the flowers etc.”

The groom and groomsmen wore suits from Admiral Quarters. Sarah says “Tying in with the ‘classic’ theme we thought you can’t go wrong with a classic black suit and bow-tie combo – I thought they all looked handsome dressed the same – we chose the flowers to differentiate the groom from the groomsmen. We also bought the suits as presents for our bridal party instead of wasting it on rental hire …  Finally for the boys, we purchased black socks for them with ‘best man’ and ‘groom’ on them from Pink Frosting – just another fun touch.”

The reception was held at Restaurant Two “We chose to have it here for a few reasons. Mainly because it is where Stew proposed to me on my birthday in 2009. We also felt food and wine were one of the most important elements of a wedding so we chose a venue that was renowned for these things. The venue is also in a beautiful building, with lots of different spaces which cater for different phases on the evening – i.e. drinks and canapés, then moving to a dining area and then to the dancefloor! I think this helps with the flow of the evening and gives the guests a bit of direction as how you want the evening to go. Jade Thompson, the wedding planner at R2 was also amazing and even came in on her day off, on our wedding day, to make sure everything was in order. It was so nice to see her face as you spend so much time together planning and then to share the end result together, was quite special.”

Sarah has so many wonderful memories of the day “I remember thinking on the day, ‘someone is definitely watching over us’, it was just a dream come true how perfect it way! It was the most beautiful day and I felt like I could touch the love that was filling the room at the reception – a feeling I will never ever forget.”

Sarah puts the credit of styling the reception to her florist Julie Vine “A lot of my planning and styling for my wedding is due to the fabulous taste and work of Julie Vine. She was more than a florist for me, she was my wedding stylist! I completely trusted her as we possessed similar styles and tastes – she arranged my venue so perfectly that I was immediately blown away when I saw it. I wanted the place to feel like a garden with all sorts of flowers and colours. Every table had a different theme, will different colours/flowers/arrangements. The theme colours were warm oranges, pink, apricots and of course lots of white and green. Then I wanted it to be littered with candles – everywhere! The window ledges at Restaurant 2 were lined with tea light candles so the place lit up as it the night got darker. And when we had our first dance, I felt like we were alone – it was so romantic.”

Sarah and Stewart had set ideas from the outset. “From the moment we got engaged, we knew we wanted a wedding that didn’t feel like a wedding. Obviously we wanted to maintain some traditional aspects (saying traditional vows to each other in a church was the most important one) however apart from that, we wanted it to be a classy yet relaxed party! All we wanted was for everyone to have fun. We also wanted to have our own touch on our wedding and not have anything dictated by anyone else or feel like we had to follow a traditional run of events.

We made speeches quite short, we weren’t ‘announced’ at the reception, we just walked in! We had chocolate fondue instead of wedding cake, I wore blue shoes, the bridal party all went to the reception before the guests as I wanted us to be the first people to see it, we had Cosmopolitans on arrival (my favourite drink!), Stew didn’t have 1 best man, but 3! We wanted our day to be about us and the special people in our life. We wanted to have fun with each other and our guests knowing that we had invested in trusted and experienced vendors who ensured the day went without any hiccups! Choosing such professionals definitely creates a relaxed feel on the day and is so important …”

Congratulations Sarah and Stewart! Thank you for allowing us to share your wedding day and story on Polka Dot Bride! Thank you also to  Feather + Stone Photography for today’s photographs!

Photos  by Feather + Stone Photography.