Ben and I first met in high school, however did not know each other well as we had different circle of friends. We re-connected through our friends (bridesmaids) when we were 19, exchanged numbers and hit it off from there. Our first date was on my birthday, October 2008. He picked me up in his pride and joy (his car – Ben is a bit of a car enthusiast), where he had flowers and chocolates waiting on the passenger seat for me. He took me for a drive in the Adelaide Hills, we pulled over at a lookout which overlooked the Piccadilly Valley, and spent hours mesmerised by the view and chatting away.

Ben proposed on 24th October 2015 (after 6 years and 51 weeks of officially being an item). As far as I was aware he was organising an early surprise 7 year anniversary dinner. I arrived home in the early afternoon to an empty house – no Ben and no Harley (our puppy). Ben arrived home shortly after and told me to pack an overnight bag. Shortly after we were checked into the Intercontinental for the night. Ben then took me to Windy Point Restaurant for dinner and I was told we would have dessert elsewhere.

After dinner we drove through the Adelaide hills for quite a while (at this point I was questioning his directions and dessert choice), during the drive he mentioned a few times that he thought something was wrong with my tyre, and he eventually pulled over to check it out. As it was pitch black, little did I know he pulled over at ‘our’ spot overlooking the Piccadilly Valley. He yelled out asking me to come check out the tyre. I jumped out of the car to Ben shining his torch on the tyre and asking me if I see anything, to which I responded with a puzzled ‘no?’ He then responded with “I’m only joking, I want read you something.” He read a beautiful poem he had written himself, got down on one knee, opened up a beautiful ring box and asked me to marry him. I have to say… it was well worth the seven year wait!! I couldn’t have been happier.  My not so romantic boyfriend turned fiancé had gone above anything I had ever imagined.

Now onto the fun stuff: THE DRESS. My dress was purchased from Jenny and Gerrys Bridal and the designer is Wtoo by Watters. It was a dreamy, ballerina-inspired ball gown, featuring an Illusion tulle yoke with a plunging neckline, delicate beading and Swarovski Crystals on the front bodice and growing up the back, complete with a full soft net skirt and sweep train in ivory & blush.

Funnily enough, it was nothing like what I had imagined myself in. I expected a fitted dress with delicate lace and a long train but ended up with the complete opposite. It was the first dress I tried on and I instantly got those feels – it is true what they say, when you know, you know! I’m not the kind of person to jump into decisions, so I tried another several dresses on, none of which compared or gave me those same feels. After trying it on for the second time it just felt right. I had my mum and 3 bridesmaids with me, and the way their faces lit up and my mum’s flowing tears just confirmed it was ‘the one’.

All my jewellery, including my head piece was from Miss Martini in Unley, my shoes were Wittner and our bridal robes were from Homebodii. My engagement ring as well as both our wedding bands were custom made from Bell and Brunt.

Our makeup was done by Danika Maree Make Up Artist. Danika is absolutely incredible. She is friendly and her professionalism, knowledge and experience was impeccable. She takes so much pride in her work and it really shines through. The girls looked absolutely stunning, I was blown away.

Ohhh my flowers! How I loved them! Christine from Blooming Bridal was brilliant to work with, selecting flowers was one of my favourite parts of the planning process. I knew I wanted my bouquet to consist of Peonies and for it to be slightly structured, but not too perfect in the placement of blooms. I didn’t want it to look like a round ball, I thought it was too formal for the look I was trying to achieve.

Receiving the box on the day was like opening presents on Christmas day!! Our bouquets consisted of Peonies, David Austins, Dahlias, Queen Anne’s lace, Blue Gum and Dusty Miller foliage scattered throughout. My stems were finished with my great great grandma’s silk handkerchief. My grandma gave it to me the week of the wedding as my ‘something borrowed.’ My grandma and mum had worn it stitched on the inside of their dresses on their own wedding days. I thought it was a beautiful gesture and I wanted it to be seen on the day. The bridesmaid bouquets were finished in an ivory tulle.

Ben and the groomsmen wore a classic black suit from Peter Shearer. They wore dark brown leather shoes, which we felt fit the theme of our garden wedding perfectly. Ben wanted to do something a little different and felt the black leather shoe looked just a little too formal. Ben kept it simple and classic with a black bow tie, his groomsmen wore a blush bow tie and pocket square to match the bridesmaid dresses. Believe it or not, picking the boys ties was one of the hardest decisions we had to make; we spent hours in store, and purchased about 15 different ties and bow ties until we decided on the right colour. My amazing florist actually helped seal the deal with her helpful advice and knowledge.

We chose Mount Lofty House for sentimental reasons. The venue is situated overlooking the Piccadilly Valley and as mentioned is where we had our first date, shared our first kiss and most importantly where Ben proposed. Anyone that knows us well, knows we’re all about scenery, beautiful views and sunsets. Whenever we have a free weekend, we head up to the Adelaide Hills, explore, eat some fabulous food and enjoy the magnificent scenery. I would always joke about getting married at Mt Lofty House when we would drive past, we never thought that it would actually become a reality.

There was multiple ceremony locations within the grounds of Mt Lofty House, we picked ours purely for the stunning views that overlooked the Valley as well as the beautiful rose garden. The area featured tiered lawns which made it an intimate spot for our ceremony. We wanted the ceremony to be personal and light hearted. We both wrote our own vows and worked with our amazing celebrant, Amy Harrison to personalise the non-legal parts of our ceremony.

I was surprised to see Ben shed more tears during the ceremony than I did. It was such a beautiful moment and I loved hearing Ben’s own vows for the first time in front of our closest family and friends. It meant a lot to both of us. I walked down the aisle to ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love’ by Haley Reinhart – there was not a dry eye in the house. I remember being so excited to see Ben at the end of the aisle, it is a memory I will cherish forever.

Our reception was held in the Piccadilly Restaurant. We kept decor very simple as we didn’t want to take away from the spectacular views. We had low elongated table arrangements that consisted of cascading green foliage and assorted soft pretty blooms, which complimented the bridal party and bouquets. The bridal table consisted of the same blooms covering the entire length of the table with a slight over hang on the ends.

We couldn’t have been happier with the service from start to finish and even more so on our wedding day. The staff at Mt Lofty House were excellent – polite, efficient, helpful and professional. Their service was impeccable and the food was of high quality and standards. We received positive feedback from our guests about the staff and food, which is always a good thing to hear at your own event. The wedding co-ordinator and sales and executive team were nothing short of amazing – I couldn’t praise them enough. We loved the venue so much that we stayed at their sister resort The Reef House in Palm Cove for our honeymoon.

We kept formalities to a minimum as we wanted to spend as much time possible chatting and celebrating with our guests. After mains, we made way to the dance floor to have our first dance as husband and wife. We then spent most of the night on the dance floor with our guests – thanks to our amazing DJ/MC Mobile Mike DJ. I can’t recommend him highly enough. Mike had everyone up, he catered to everyone’s song requests and had a huge variety of music for all ages. Everyone who attended our wedding complimented how good the music was.

Gosh my cake!!! I have no words, it’s just so pretty and gee, it was delicious. Our beautiful cake was made by Elysia Ang from d’Elycious Desserts. I emailed her some inspiration pictures and told her to go wild. I didn’t see the final result until I entered the reception and what a lovely surprise it was! Ben and I were both so happy with it. I can’t recommend Elysia highly enough.

Our amazing photographer was Lucinda May Photography. She was so lovely to deal with and helped us with the days schedule and timeline so that everything ran smoothly. We chose Lucinda for her authentic and natural style and she did not disappoint. We love that she didn’t make us do any awkward poses yet still captured the day and our love without forcing it.

Our wedding was the perfect day thanks to the love and support of our friends and family. Thank you to our incredible parents for making the day possible and a huge thank you to our amazing bridal party who helped us celebrate our love in a very special way.

Ms Zigzag says: What a joy it is to read about Renae and Ben’s gorgeous garden wedding! Renae really left no stone unturned and it sounds like the day went off without a single glitch. And what a party, too! Who doesn’t love a wedding where once the formalities are over, the rest of the night is spent on the dance floor? We wish these two love birds a very happy ever after.

About Renae and Ben: I’m 28 and recently married my best friend of 8 years in November 2016. We bought our first home in June 2015 and we have a beautiful child (well technically he is our dog but he gets treated like royalty so you’d barely know the difference if he wasn’t covered in fur and had four legs). I’ve been following Polka Dot Bride for a few years now and have always been a huge fan! The weddings posted on the blog are so personal and one of a kind. Every wedding touched me in some way and I hope our wedding will impact brides in the future.