Stacey & Pawel
We see a lot of country weddings here at Polka Dot Bride, but this Modern Royal Mail Hotel wedding takes the country style and turns it on its head. A modern look, a Polish style celebration, a long lunch, a delicious dinner and plenty of dancing. It’s a day I won’t soon forget and was captured beautifully by Jonas Peterson.
Stacey tells the story of how they met and ultimately ended up engaged. “Pawel and I met in November 2009 at a bar in Melbourne. I was meeting up with some friends after a work ball and he was celebrating a good friend’s birthday. I got chatting to his best mate, Alistair who then went on to introduce Pawel and I to each other. For me it was literally love at first sight, I fell hard and fast, for Pawel not so much. Pawel being Polish, was more skeptical, and didn’t fall so fast or hard. We dated for around 3 months, of which we both have some very fond memories.
Given we lived in separate states, the conversation of going steady come up pretty soon. My job at the time demanded me to be in Melbourne every other week, we decided to give a steady relationship a good go. It was at around the 3 year stage where I had had enough of the emotional hello and goodbyes at the airport. In 2011 we decided that I would move to Melbourne and, although I miss my family, friends and Sydney Harbour, I have not looked back. Melbourne is the place we call home.
When Pawel proposed, I was in transit from one job to another and I asked Pawel to book a holiday at a destination that had NO phone reception, we as a couple really needed a rest and recover holiday. The destination was Heron Island; it fit the brief perfectly. It was on this holiday that Pawel surprised me with a VERY romantic proposal.
On the third day of our holiday, Pawel advised me that we would be spending the day, just the two of us, snorkelling and enjoying each other’s company. We woke in the morning and it was a perfect day, on the way to the beach Pawel had arranged for a picnic hamper for 2 to be picked up, and I immediately gushed, how romantic, didn’t click, just gushed. We then proceeded to walk along the beach to a very secluded location on the island, clearly a spot that had been pre-selected.
Pawel had been planning to propose to me in the water, he had brought along with him a waterproof note pad and pen to “pop” the question with. A great plan until I had to come along and ruin it. I had been very silly the day prior and was nursing a pretty bad sunburn, the water and wet suit irritated my burn and I was not feeling up to snorkeling. I asked if I could pass on the snorkeling or and read my book. I have never seen a more disappointed face, Pawel spent the next 20 minutes trying to convince me to join him until he gave up and entered the water himself. Pawel went on snorkeling for around 2 hours, he returned to the beach all excited with his camera and note pad in hand. Being the researcher that he is sometimes, I expected nothing less, that he would of course take images and document his findings at sea. Little did I know, the note pad had his proposal on it….
He presented me the images of the fish to then place in front of my vision the note pad with the following text: Will you marry me?? Yes or Yes – I was so shocked I had to take a second look as well as ask if he was serious. And of course I said a very teary yes! What a man, a romantic picnic for 2 at a secluded location on one of Australia’s most beautiful islands, the perfect proposal in my eyes. We celebrated that evening at the local A-La-Carte restaurant for a stunning dinner, where all of the staff joined in our celebrations. And thank god for them, this was the only time the ‘no reception’ thing killed me, I couldn’t call home to tell my family!!!”
Stacey loved the gifts she and Pawel gave each other remembering, “I arranged for Pawel’s uncle to send over his grandfather’s WWII medals to wear on the wedding day, which allowed for Pawel to reminiscence over his childhood and choose two medals (one for the ceremony and one for the reception) and pay homage to his family on the day. I loved the box of images from my husband to me. My husband gave me a hand made box full of images; snippets of our life together that he had hand written reasons of what or why he loves me. I opened this on the morning of the wedding, tears streamed down my face.”
Stacey chose Yulia Mc Couture to make her gown, which gave her two looks for the day, noting “My dress was bespoke, a fusion of my 2 favourite wedding dress designers; J’aton & Inbal Dror. I had a friend do the sketch design and I worked with the ever so talented Yulia from Yulia Mc Couture to create the masterpiece. Being that Yulia was based in Sydney and I in Melbourne, the process did present its challenges and usual stresses. In saying that, I would not have chosen anyone else.
At times I found it difficult to communicate my vision, Yulia went out of her way to ensure my vision was realised, even if it did mean going against tradition and or being there at 9pm on a Friday evening. Yulia is a master at her craft, her attention to detail and her skill is like no other. Not only did she construct a dress that fit me like it was my second skin, she successfully had crafted the capelet, veil and top that created my first and second look for the big day.”
Stacey and Pawel were married at The Royal Mail Hotel, Dunkeld , Stacey explaining, “We chose a destination wedding. Given every one was traveling to the wedding we wanted to limit the travel for the wedding on the day. We love rolling hills and outdoors. We chose the rolling hills and stunning Mt Sturgeon for our ceremony, the back of the homestead for our lunch and the working wool shed for our reception. All only a walk away from where the guests and bridal party were staying.”
For her walk down the aisle, a friend sang, Stacey telling, “One of my best ever girlfriends, Linda sang Ellie Goulding “Power of Love” for me as I walked down the aisle. Although wind prevented me from hearing it on the day, my husband tells me it was AMAZING… it brought a tear to his eye.”
Michael Webb – Marrying You Two officiated the ceremony, which included Polish traditions. Stacey remembers, “Michael blew us away with his input to our ceremony, he made us feel ever so comfortable, was so organised and very professional.
We wanted our ceremony to be intimate, our guests to be included and everyone to feel. Again it was important to ensure that it payed respect to Polish traditions where they were appropriate. Looking back our ceremony was the most important part for Pawel and I, this is what we were committing to each other for the rest of our lives. This was the one and only time we were going to have to declare to each other, in front of our nearest and dearest friends, our love and commitment to each other. We wrote our own vows, drank Polish vodka, ate Polish bread, cried, laughed and loved every minute of it.”
Post ceremony, guests enjoyed a luncheon and games on the lawns.
Of their photographer, Stacey says, “Jonas Peterson, where do I start. He is one of the most humble yet talented creatures on earth. Effortlessly amazing.”
Stacey arranged for the groom’s uncle to send over his grandfather’s war medals to wear on the day. Pawel chose two (one for the ceremony and one for the reception) and the moment was one Stacey will treasure forever. She notes, “Pawel’s grandfather played a very important role in his life when growing up, I felt that this was the best way for me to respect and pay tribute to this”.
The formal feast was held at the back of the homestead, guests dining at long tables.
Stacey adds, “Given that we both live far away from our families, and that this was the first time most of our families would meet our close friends, it was very important that we spent time together. We wanted to respect and educate the guests on my husband’s Polish heritage while paying tribute to the beautiful country we call home, Australia. We decided to create a Polish inspired (4 day wedding) at a typically Australian location”.
Stacey and Pawl set up a vintage suitcase with photos of loved ones who had passed, each guest received a hand written note from the bride acknowledging their special place in the newlywed’s lives.
Stacey remembers, “The contribution on the day of our family and friends and in our lives is forever cherished. My husband’s best man brought the wedding to tears of laughter and emotion. My sister had the guests holding on to her every word while rapping her speech at the end of the night; it was like we were at a concert clustered round the stage. My best friend singing, my brothers walking me down the aisle, my grandfather’s rude and inappropriate jokes on the bus. My younger brothers participated, one by my other side and the other walking his children down the aisle ( Jarvis our page boy and Sofia flower girl). All of my 5 siblings were involved in the wedding party, they mean the world to me, they have helped make me the person I am today.”
Of the first dance, Stacey remembers, “Our first dance was beautiful. Although we didn’t have a “special song” we had a special band. We danced to one of our favourite artists Coldplay; the song was Magic. Our first dance was a great moment that set the scene for the rest of the night, LOADS and LOADS of dancing… so much so that we nearly broke the dance floor.”
The couple handmade many of the details – from the invitations to the pinata (filled with Polish lollies) to the favors and flowers.
Congratulations Stacey and Pawel! Thank you for sharing your day with us! Thank you also to Jonas Peterson for sharing today’s wedding with us!