We celebrate a lot of weddings here at Polka Dot Bride, but there is one celebration we know certainly doesn’t get enough attention – the engagement party!

For me, the engagement party is the beginning of the fun – it’s a chance to get your favourite people together, without quite the stress and planning of a wedding, and celebrate all that is to come. Today’s editorial is designed to inspire a topical and modern outdoor engagement party, with all the fresh fun to inspire your own celebration.

With Sundown Film and Photograph behind the camera, our glam team took to the gorgeous garden setting of The 104 Manor. Pitch’n Tents pitched a tipi tent, The Planted Co brought in lush tropical plants, and The One Day House brought in furniture to create a scene just right for celebrating, with champagne (of course). Layers of seating areas – from the tent to a long low table, a bar with thatched umbrella and a cane lounge suite providing plenty of seating for cosy chats and memorable moments.

Photographer Tahlia shared “We wanted to bring together an amazing group of creatives, to showcase their work. Setting out to create a refreshing and wholesome concept, where a couple can revel in their engagement, and then do it again for their wedding.”

“Our shoot aimed for more. Something fresh, original and organic. The warmth and comfort of a timeless Hamptons style home, a grassy poolside terrace boasting a glorious panoramic outlook, with seating and dining areas inspired by the tropics. A perfect location for a couple which is a true epitome of “effervescence”.”

Bliss and Willow styled the look, with dramatic oversize floral details styled by Bunch It Up, tropical paper pieces with watercolour detail by  Fielding Milligan and a cake, in just right tropical style – toasted coconut and lemon flavour featuring a pineapple crown (of course) by Andy Bakes.

Our “bride” and “groom” models (and real couple!) Emma Dobson and Nick Thompson dressed in pieces Isabella Longginou and Urbbana, Our bride donning jewels (including a stunning engagement ring) from Gold Coast jeweller The Diamond Vault GC. Emma’s look complete with a modern ponytail hairstyle by Sapphire Bridal & Occasions Hairstyling and sparkling makeup by  Makeup by Be You Beauty

“Some couples say that this time is even more beautiful than the time surrounding their wedding day as it is untarnished by the stresses of planning and anticipation” remarks Tahlia. “A styled engagement party serves as an amazing opportunity to meet, break the ice, and begin to form a beautiful bond with all of the vendors which play such a crucial role in creating the extravagant wedding we all dream of. Think of it as a trial run. Getting any of those awkward photo moments out of the way. So when your big day comes around it feels like your vendors are all old friends that you haven’t seen for a while.”