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Jen & Joel

For me, the excitement of running giveaways at Polka Dot Bride is seeing the winner’s celebrations and the plans come to fruition and today’s wedding? Well it’s particularly special! Last August we ran a Brisbane Wedding Giveaway and today? The winners are sharing their romantic Brisbane wedding with us captured beautifully by Timeless Tales Photography.

Joel tells the story of how they came to be. “I was a boarding supervisor at a Brisbane high school, and one of my colleagues was studying architecture at uni with Jenny. She had come to do a study session whilst I was supervising one day, and I was getting very frustrated by some of the kids I was supervising who were a little hyperactive and trying to see how far my patience would stretch. I had to put my serious teacher voice on, which doesn’t come out very often, and of course she heard me… To my surprise, she knocked quietly on my door and carried in a pot of Jasmine tea, along with her nervous but captivating smile and sparkling blue eyes which I noticed almost immediately. That kindness was exactly what I needed, and from that moment and every moment since she made me so incredibly happy. I think we both knew from the beginning that we had finally met our other half!”

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The day kicked off with stationery by Celebration Design Studio, of which Jen says, “The invitation suites that Jo helped us design were absolutely gorgeous and so many people commented on just how pretty and impressive they were. We really enjoyed our visits to her studio and her idea to incorporate the lovely flower and bird print from a vintage painting really struck a chord with us. We were so pleased with the results and couldn’t wait to get them in the post to share with our guests!”

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The first vendor off the rank who generously contributed to the prize was Wil Valor , making groom Joel a bespoke suit. Jen noting “Without a doubt this was the part Joel was looking forward to the most!!! Vish, you did an outstanding job of making him the perfect suit! Joel had so many comments on the day about how good he looked and how well it fit him! And that colour! Incredible… He could not be happier and is so grateful to you. You made it so easy! Thank you for your wonderful talents, guidance and advice, and for the most amazing outcome!”

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The beautiful floral arrangements were designed by Bella Bloom Floral Designs. Jen tells, “From our first meeting with Kelly from Bella Bloom we knew we were in good hands. She was so knowledgeable and creative, and we had so much faith in her that she would create special and unique floral designs for our wedding. And the bouquets, boutonnières and corsages she personally delivered to us on the morning of our wedding could not have been more stunning.

They were everything we had hoped for and so much more. The olive leaves and rosemary stems gave the arrangements a wild and rustic feel (and delightful scent), and the inclusion of David Austen roses was such a wonderful surprise we weren’t sure would be possible! Kelly – you are so incredibly talented and words cannot express how grateful we are to you for our gorgeous flowers!”

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The bride wore a gown from Jennifer Gifford Designs. Jen remembering, ” I absolutely loved every part of the process of creating my dream wedding dress with Jennifer Gifford. From the first visit I knew her gorgeous ‘Fleur’ dress was for me – it is absolutely exquisite! I know I had made the right choice when Joel saw the dress for the first time and could help but shed a tear – I think he is just as grateful to you! I thoroughly enjoyed every visit, every decision, every fitting, every conversation with Jen along the way, and I don’t think I could have ever imagined how perfect the dress would look and feel, or how lucky I was to be able to wear it. Jen was so incredibly wonderful and I am truly grateful to her for her kind heart, fun personality, calming influence and relaxed attitude. Thank you Jen for making this experience a happy and enjoyable one for me, from the bottom of my heart.”

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Jen and her bridesmaids traveled to the wedding in cars from Holden Oldies. Jen remarking “When we were told we had the chance to be driven to the wedding in Holden Oldies newest addition, lovingly referred to as ‘Minty’, we were so excited and couldn’t wait to see the car! Despite the rain, Brian was so calm and relaxed and made the journey a really fun one! The car is so romantic and beautifully restored, and we loved every minute of the journey.”

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The couple chose a first look before their ceremony, noting, “I got a little bit soaked from walking around in the downpour during the wedding party photos and as a result my dress was completely saturated! I was so teeth-chatteringly cold that I actually considered stopping in at the State Library ladies’ room to stand under the hand dryers…! Being my voices of reason for the day, my lovely maids talked me out of it, assuring me that, of course, my Dad would have a hair dryer at his place which we could use instead. By the time we arrived at Dad’s, I was in danger of developing hypothermia and desperate for the hair dryer, which, it turns out, he didn’t have after all….! We spent the entire time before the ceremony mopping my dress with dry towel after dry towel until each one couldn’t carry any more water! At least I was so preoccupied I didn’t have a spare moment for nerves or pre-wedding jitters, and by the time we arrived at the Pavilion I realised that everyone was there for us and I was about to see Joel and promise to love him always. Nothing else mattered.”

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Hair and makeup was styled by Glamour Bar, Jen telling, “I met Holly from the Glamour Bar and we instantly ‘clicked’. She is not only one of the most genuine, warm and happy people I have ever met, but she is also insanely talented as well! Holly has to be one of the best hair and makeup artists in Brisbane – she transformed all the girls beautifully, and most importantly everything stayed in place for the whole day (despite the rain)! Her attention to detail and her extra special touch is second to none. We all felt so safe and relaxed in Holly’s capable hands and she definitely made the morning fun, stress-free and special for us. Thank you Holly – you are a miracle-worker!!!”

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Jen and Joel tell, “The day was everything we hoped for and so much more: a personal, relaxed and intimately romantic occasion filled with love, excitement, and encouragement from the people that mean most to us in the world. The beautiful food and wine, live music, and gorgeous surroundings made for the most incredible atmosphere and it honestly was the best day of our lives! ”

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Accessories were gifted by Bridal Bling. “Kelly from Bridal Bling handmade a number of gorgeous items which really made our day special and meaningful. From personalised handkerchiefs for our parents to named hangers for our bridal party – she was even able to make some personalised groom’s socks so that Joel didn’t get cold feet! Kelly is clearly very talented with a keen eye for detail – everything she made was of a very high quality and absolutely delightful.”

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The bridesmaids wore pale pink gowns from Begitta Bridal and Couture, Jen explaining, “The beautiful soft pink colour complimented the styling and flowers perfectly. Begitta is such a bubbly and friendly person, we always felt very comfortable with her. Thank you Begitta for your stunning dresses!”

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Of their photographer, Jen and Joel tell, “What an amazing talent Sarah is! We met her in the very early days of the competition over a cup of coffee and Jen and I both were so impressed. Not only is she one of the most sincere, warm and entertaining person we have encountered, she is also a highly skilled photographer who managed to capture some beautiful images when we had our engagement shoot.

Our wedding day was not blessed by the weather gods, but that did not stop Sarah and her resilience and determination to work her magic! Despite the rain she was able to give us some truly memorable images that captured our day perfectly! Sarah you are the ultimate professional, you made us feel so comfortable, relaxed and happy, and I could honestly not recommend anyone better for those looking for a wedding photographer!!! Words cannot express how blessed and appreciative we are of everything you have done for us. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”

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The couple were married at Pavilion Function and Conference Centre, Alan Border Field , the rain moving the garden ceremony inside. The newlyweds remember, “When record rainfall disrupted our outdoor ceremony, the Pavilion team came to our rescue and provided the room for our wedding ceremony. Thanks to the styling by Moments in Vintage, the room looked stunning and felt so perfect that our dreams of an outdoor ceremony were long forgotten.”

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There were plenty of handmade details by the bride, Joel recalling, “For the small little extra details, Jenny handmade pretty much everything and her list of handmade touches was pretty impressive. She really wanted to be involved and for the day to have a personal touch. Even though she was working full-time (6 days a week!), she was up every night cutting out flags by hand or pressing papers together waiting for the glue to dry.

She spent every Sunday custom designing framed signage and creating stationery, such as hand crafted menu cards, individual place tags and personalised thank-you cards. She even made her own giant balloon tassels and paper straws for our signature cocktails! I especially loved the “J&J” and “I do!” hand flags waved by all our guests! I think all these small decorations which used a playful palette of peach, pink and gold added a real sense of fun, charm and style to the wedding and whilst I know it was a huge effort for Jenny, she found it so rewarding when her vision was brought to life on the day. One of the best compliments we received was that the day “just felt like Joel and Jen”, which made all the hard work and sleepless nights totally worthwhile!”

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Style My Celebration planned and coordinated the day, Jen and Joel remembering “As the driving force behind this competition, our Wedding Planner Bec of Style My Celebration worked with us from the very beginning, a process of almost a year and coordinated all the prize vendors and put us all in touch. She facilitated all communication and was always available to help in whatever way she could – it was so reassuring to know Bec was just a phone call away if either of us were having a ‘moment’. She always put our minds at ease. Thank you Bec for being our counselor, guide, advisor, negotiator, mediator and friend. You made the process very enjoyable for us, and we could never have done this without you. We could never repay Bec for her efforts, but hope she knows the valuable role she played in making all our wedding dreams come true!”

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The flowergirl was dressed by Venice & Me. Jen telling, “The flower girl was Joel’s niece, and was beside herself with excitement! We surprised her with the most precious dress from Clarissa at Venice and Me. Clarissa was amazing, and so easy to deal with. Nothing was an issue, especially given the flower girl lived in Victoria, and all measurements we taken via email!!! Thank you Clarissa for such a perfect dress for the perfect flower girl! “

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The processional was one of the highlights of the day for Jen and Joel, Joel telling, “We had arranged for a very good friend of ours (and amazing musician) to sing live for Jenny’s processional. She was scheduled to fly in from Cairns that morning with plenty of time to prepare and dress for the wedding. As it took off, the plane flew into a flock of birds and had to perform an emergency landing, crashing off the end of the runway. Fortunately no one was injured, but this meant she missed the beginning of the ceremony! She organised some of her colleagues to step in, and they did an absolutely magical rendition of “At Last” by Etta James.

We waited eight years to get married so we really connected with this song and the lyrics couldn’t be more fitting. Jenny cried nearly all the way down the aisle and I could tell she was very overwhelmed by all the love surrounding us. As she drew nearer, it was as if everything else drowned out and I was standing alone waiting for her to join me. This truly special moment, thinking of how far we had come and all the wonderful things ahead of us, is one that I will never forget.”

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The part that took the day to unforgettable for the newlyweds was their involvement of family and friends. They tell, “For us, our wedding was a rare opportunity to celebrate the next chapter of our lives with our family and friends, and also thank them for all the support and love they have shown us over the years. There were a number of special details which made the wedding even more memorable. We both wrote very heartfelt letters to our parents which we shared with them the morning of the wedding, along with a small keepsake which we know they will cherish forever. We also wrote each other ‘love notes’ reflecting on our lives together, which guaranteed the shedding of many happy tears as we read them alone, as we climbed into bed the night before the wedding, for the very last time away from each other.

It was very special to have both our Mums as our witnesses during the ceremony and our Dads to honour us with the most incredible speeches during the reception. We loved that our friends and family passed around our wedding bands, held them for a moment in their hands and warmed them with wishes, blessings and prayers for our marriage. This was such a great way to involve all of our guests in the ceremony.

Jenny – whose grandmother was very sick in hospital and who eventually passed away shortly after the wedding – felt very blessed to wear a pearl bracelet given to her by her grandmother when she was a very little girl. She has treasured that gift all her life and now it is imbued with even more meaning. After the wedding, Jenny took her bouquet to the hospital as a gift for her grandmother who had been waiting many years for Jenny to marry, and they were both so happy to be able to say goodbye to each other one final time.”

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The rings were passed around during the ceremony, the couple remembering, “We loved that our friends and family passed around our wedding bands, held them for a moment in their hands and warmed them with wishes, blessings and prayers for our marriage. This was such a great way to involve all of our guests in the ceremony.”

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Ketrina Coffey performed the ceremony. “Ketrina, from our first meeting, we were hooked! Ketrina was able to answer all our questions with such informed knowledge and professionalism which made sure our ceremony went off without a hitch! She managed to create something that was uniquely ‘us’ and was so accommodating with the things that were really important to us, but also in making suggestions as to what might best suit us. Our guests agreed that it was the most intimate, emotional and genuinely heart-felt ceremony, and this is exactly what we were hoping for. Thank you for your part in what was the best day of our lives!!”

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The ceremony setup was styled by Moments in Vintage. Jen remarking “It wasn’t until after the ceremony that we really had a chance to look around at the ceremony styling, and we were completely blown away at how incredible the room looked. Despite the late change in venue due to weather, Tisa from Moments in Vintage was able to transform the space to become an intimate, magical and unique ceremony environment. She so kindly created a custom-made giant gold frame which made the perfect backdrop for our gorgeous ceremony.”

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Guests enjoyed a sit down reception dinner at one long table, Jen and Joel remembering, “Our reception in the Captain’s Room was amazing. We are both food and wine lovers, so it was important to us that we shared a delicious gourmet meal accompanied by first class wines with our guests. The Pavilion’s food and wine was so good we were privileged to overhear many ‘oh wow’s and ‘mmm yum’s through every course. Our guests are still telling us that it was the best food and drink of any wedding they had ever been to, so we couldn’t be happier! To the Pavilion staff we had complete faith in you from the beginning, but what you delivered exceeded our wildest expectations. Thank you all for giving us and our guests the best night of our lives.”

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The reception was styled by  Adorn Event Hire , Jen and Joel remembering, “Amanda from Adorn Event Hire is a superstar!!! Her expertise in guiding us for our reception styling and ultimately creating what was the most beautiful setting we have ever seen will never be forgotten! We were both speechless when we saw the reception room set up for the first time – the long table was so stunning and the olive trees and fairy lights added to the intimacy. We loved the LOVE lights on the dance floor too and this created the perfect backdrop to the whole room. Amanda was so easy and fun to work with through the process – nothing was ever a concern, nothing was too difficult, and the flowers on the table showcased more of her amazing hidden talents! Thank you Amanda for your incredible generosity in contributing to the prize, but also for all those extra bits and pieces you included for us along the way!!! We are humbled and forever grateful that you made our reception truly magical.”

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Blackboard Artworx created custom signage guiding guests to their seats “We chose to use the blackboard from Blackboard Artworx for our seating plan at the reception – and it looked incredible! It was certainly not the plain variety taken from a 1980’s classroom, but an incredible white backdrop with all the colours that tied in perfectly with those of all the flowers, styling and the rest of our day! This was also a surprise for us, and a real eye catcher as our guests entered the room! Thank you Nina!”

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The lolly buffet styled by Memories Are Sweet  with a polka dot wedding cake by The Flour Girl . Jen and Joel remembering “The lolly buffet was a surprise from Jocelyn of Memories Are Sweet , and we had no idea what to expect. Turns out we were the beneficiaries of the most amazing creation. Roses provided an amazing backdrop to a selection of some of our favourite lollies! Our guests couldn’t help themselves, as they filled their bags with these sweet delights. We are still getting comments from our guests about how perfect that table was! Sherie (The Flour Girl ) was also in on the surprise that was our lolly buffet. We shared with her some of our flavour preferences, and that’s all we knew! What we got was the most beautiful three tier cake that was the star of that table, and judging by how little was left, a big hit with our guests too!!! ”

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The first dance was a romantic and quiet moment for Jen and Joel who remember,”Whilst we had spent most of the day together, our first dance was really the first opportunity that we had to take a breath and just take it all in. The nerves from all the attention being on us disappeared and it was just the two of us – our moment to share with each other and nobody else, if only for a few seconds. We danced to “It Had To Be You” by Harry Connick Junior, performed live by the seriously cool Radio Club Band. Our first dance was one of those special moments that we will both be able to look back on and share the same memory together.”

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Congratulations on your prize. your marriage and your happily ever after Jen and Joel! Thank you for sharing so much of your day with us! Thank you also to Timeless Tales Photography  and the entire dream team involved in the giveaway and today’s wedding for sharing it with us!