Hannah & Chris

Today’s wedding is super special in so many ways, one being that Hannah (aka Ms Zebra) is a member of the Polka Dot Bride team! Hannah married Chris in a beautiful rooftop ceremony in the heart of Melbourne, six weeks after deciding they would elope and with their baby Archie in tow. There to capture the vows and intimate celebration that followed was photographer Ali Bailey and videographer Lochlan Tangas from Tango Films. Below, Hannah shares how she and Chris met, as well as how they pulled together a stylish and sophisticated celebration in such a short timeframe.

Chris and I met via Tinder five years ago! There was a feature at the time when someone could “superlike” you… Chris “superliked” me, which, I tease him of often and once we connected, it turned out we had many crossovers and were unsure how we hadn’t already met! One of my best friends actually worked at a bar with him for years and was dating one of his good mates. Strange how these things work out! I suppose the rest as they say, is history.

Fast forward to our wedding and the style and theme was very classic, intimate and special – oh and a surprise! It was the ultimate throw together, COVID wedding. We only decided about six weeks in advance we were going to do it. Luckily, the numbers allowed to attend had increased from 5 to 20, so we were able to share it with our gorgeous family and some close friends. We were just as prepared to have the day with only Lara Williams (our celebrant), photographer and videographer – and our little son, Archie.

Although, it was only part one! We can’t wait to be able to celebrate with a massive party and all of our friends. It was so hard capping the guests but I know all of our friends felt it was incredibly special to be there.

Getting ready with Chris and our baby Archie was so much fun.

How I chose my dress is a funny story! Having a limited amount of time and the fact that I was about two months post giving birth and we’d just been in total lockdown, this certainly wasn’t your average bridal dress selection process!

Initially when we were planning and only Chris, myself and Archie were going to be there, I had a vision of a simple white skirt, white top and killer Manolo Blahnik heels as my ultimate attire. However, as the day progressed and snowballed (like most weddings!) my little outfit became a little underdone.
My sister-in-law took me by the hand and we trudged around Chadstone trying to find a special white dress, in stock, that fit and was complementary to my post baby figure! To no avail, we left. She even pulled some amazing strings to fit me in with the amazing Capellazzo Couture but my brain just couldn’t compute pulling that together so quickly! I don’t think I’d ever thought of myself or seen myself in a traditional wedding gown and nothing about this wedding was traditional!

Instead, a dress I’d seen online, I decided I would try on. It was from Bec & Bridge, champagne in colour and fit like a glove. I suppose it was meant to be. I had it slightly altered in a few places but it was mainly ready to go.
My shoes were found online as well at Eternal Bridal, delivered in the last days leading up to the wedding and the colour matched perfectly!

Chris wore a tuxedo that he’d had made by Angela Nicolades, when he was a groomsman for one of his best mates. He had always imagined wearing a tuxedo to get married and had a special jacket made for the day. Having worked with Angela on a few different pieces now has always been a great experience. She’s so good at what she does, knows the fit and style that will suit and in my opinion, he looked pretty dapper in his get up on the day!

When it came to the flowers, I actually approached a few bigger companies about doing a small range for our day. They laughed at me, told me no and that I wasn’t spending enough to make it worthy of their time. To be honest, I was a bit deflated about the whole thing.

However, a girl I went to school with in the year below has a business – Rosa Rose Flor – and after contacting her she was more than happy to help. I was so grateful and not to mention, she’s incredibly talented!

I sent through a Pinterest concept board and left the rest with her. She’s the professional, so I had trust in her decisions! She came back with a few different options and we were beyond stoked with the result. Chris was a little hesitant when we were describing the flower stands at the altar but they definitely anchored where we said ‘I do’ and added to the aesthetic of the day. He’s since admitted he’s glad I insisted on doing it!

The wedding was on June 20, 2020 at the Siglo rooftop in Melbourne. The reception was held around the corner at Recoleta. Both spaces are managed by Spring St Events Group.

We were so lucky (in many senses of the word) that during this 2020 COVID scenario, most venues were pretty free! We chose a date with Lara first, booked in Ali and Lochlan and only then considered where we actually wanted to say ‘I do’.

I had always joked about getting married at Siglo. My mother-in- law is catholic and even though we were never getting married in a church, at least she could see St Patrick’s Cathedral!

However, we toyed with a spot in Flinders, an Air BnB and then Chris found Recoleta. When we went to visit the space, we enquired about the Siglo rooftop and Jess took us through both venues. Then we went away, thought about it and decided it would work well to marry there, then move onto the reception at Recoleta.

It was a wonderful and cohesive day, that flowed well and was perfect for guests to mill post ceremony before only walking the short distance to the reception dinner. Everyone was super helpful and we had a great time!

I walked down the aisle to ‘Sweetest Thing’ by Allman Brown.

The ceremony was relatively short and sweet. It was made up of lovely words from Lara, then Chris and myself wrote our own vows. I found it a bit daunting (even in front of only a few close friends) to be the centre of attention, but when standing up there together, I could only see Chris and everything else faded away! It was super special.
Side note: we were also super lucky that the protest that had been held at parliament that morning had dissipated and we were cheered by police as I arrived with my dad!

All our vendors were fantastic. Ali and Lochy, Lara, Rosie and Elle and of course, Jess of Spring Street Events – we couldn’t have done it without them all and it all came together so beautifully! We feel very lucky to have had such an amazing team. Bring on part two post COVID!

A favourite detail of the day was the flowers. They made such a beautiful impact – and I loved my bouquet. They complemented everything so perfectly!

Our photographer, Ali Bailey, was AMAZING! She’s such a gorgeous person and made both of us feel so comfortable and happy. She worked with us (and a baby) and made the day feel effortless. So grateful for all her hard work and of course, we love and adore the images!

The shots in the cactus garden are by far my favourite image. Chris whispered to me at the time, “What the heck are we doing in the garden?” and I replied, “Trust Ali, it will be amazing.” And it was! I loved the photography on the day because each venue and spot Ali chose looked like we could’ve been anywhere in the world. It showcases just how amazing Melbourne is!

We entered the upstairs venue for dinner to ‘Always Be My Baby’ by Anderson East.

It was all the most fun and sensational blur. Our friends laugh with us that it was the last hurrah before Melbourne went into complete lockdown for 2020!

The entire day was quite special in the end! It really went from just Chris, myself and Archie eloping (with COVID restrictions) to being able to include friends and family. The day was filled with so much love and being so intimate, I believe, created such a special atmosphere. It was truly about us getting married and making that commitment to each other to become a family without much of the other noise associated with wedding days!

I think COVID has really changed the way people see weddings, and how they will do weddings in the future. For us, we were really able to focus on the marriage part of the day and saying ‘I do’ to the person you love more than anyone in this world. If you can keep that at the forefront of your day, everything will fall into place, and everything else doesn’t really matter.

Hannah and Chris’ elopement teaser video by Tango Films

Ms Floral Says: Congratulations Hannah and Chris on such a picture perfect and special elopement. How lucky you were with the timing! Everyone here at Polka Dot Bride sends their love to your little family and we thank you for allowing us to share your story and beautiful day. Poring over every detail of it has been such a treat!