Lena and Michael

Polka Dot Brides know how to rock a wedding- Lena and Michael? They had a “kind of” elopement in the Hunter Valley. They took only four friends with them to witness their marriage ceremony (and their photographer Mr Edwards) and then drove back to Sydney the next day for a reception with their family and friends!

Lena tells the story of how they met – with a weird twist of fate! “We met through a friend at a dive bar on George St Sydney. The bar closed down soon after unfortunately. But on our two year anniversary by complete coincidence we ended up at a Japanese restaurant which happened to be built on the same site. It wasn’t until we stepped out that we realised we’d just had our anniversary dinner at the spot we first met!”

For the kick start to their wedding weekend, Lena and Michael stayed at The Carriages Boutique Hotel & Vineyard where they held their ceremony. A friend organised a platter full of beautiful produce as a pre-ceremony feast. Lena recalls, ” “The Carriages, a vineyard as well as a boutique hotel, were a dream to deal with. Incredibly friendly, they let us do our thing with no trouble. The venue itself was simply gorgeous, especially with all those autumn colours. Incredibly romantic, with that cosy vineyard feel. It was perfect!”

Lena wore a Johanna Johnson gown purchased from Savvy Brides.

The couple met before the ceremony for a first look and walked the short distance to the ceremony together.

Photographer Glen recalls, “Lena gifted Michael with a surprise right after the ceremony – a 40 million year old fossil. She says, ” I guess it’s my equivalent of the diamond ring! Oh yeah and when I gave it to him I said that’s how long I’ll love him for (after 40 millions years we’ll re-negotiate!)”

Of their photographer, Lena remarks, “Glen Edwards is one of a kind. He may have been more enthusiastic about our wedding than we were! In our first meeting he gave us millions of ideas and was adamant that he should come to our ceremony, even though we had only asked him to shoot our reception. For him, it was an opportunity to capture our unique little ceremony. We loved his artistic ambition and were only too happy to have him there!”

Lena reminisces, “Walking around the vineyard in the soft light was very romantic (even with our photographer stalking us!).”

The couple were able to plant a tree on the property, which the property owners promised they would look after! Lena tells, “One of most special details was the planting of the Oak tree. The idea came from my brother in a way. He was unable to attend the wedding as he is a Buddhist monk and is currently in a one-year retreat. I wanted his presence there so I asked him how to bring some Buddhist principles to our wedding, and along with writing our beautiful wedding vows, he also said that our first act as a married couple should be one of giving. So I had the idea of planting a tree. It was a really fun, meaningful moment in the ceremony!”

On the day after the ceremony, the couple held their reception with family and friends at Gunners Barracks, Lena remembering, “The Gunner’s Barracks is well known for its professionalism and our experience was no different. It’s a gorgeous venue, incredibly romantic, and the coordinators know how to make the planning process seamless. On the night, they exceeded expectations. One of the staff even made a makeshift garter for me! That pretty much sums up their desire to please!”

Lena remembers, “The mother of the bride also made our wedding cake – that was definitely a labour of love! My mother also made the little house which was our wishing well. I also designed our invitations (featuring a cannon for the Gunner’s Barracks) with help from my graphic designer cousin Dana. My bridesmaid Faith organised the bonbonierres which were candy hearts, and her father (who has beautiful penmanship) hand-wrote all our guest’s names on the little cut-out place cards!” The floral arrangements for the table were Australian natives put together by the bride with flowers from the Sydney Flower Market.

For their first dance, under fairy lights, Lena remembers, “We wanted everything about our wedding to be down to earth, so we invited all our guests on to the dance floor to join is for our first dance ‘All Night Long’ by Lionel Richie!”

Congratulations on your marriage Lena and Michael! Thank you for sharing your day with us! Thank you also to Mr Edwards for sharing today’s wedding with us.