What’s better than one wedding? TWO weddings, of course! Polka Dot You Bride Racquela Hill talks about her own nuptials and how she made the best of them despite all the things that didn’t go as planned!

Racquela is a teacher in Newcastle, New South Wales. She’s married to Michael, who is a builder. Her love for weddings grew out of her personal experience of planning for her own. She has a huge appreciation for vendors that make a couple’s special day come together.

In this chat we discuss:

  • How Racquela and Michael met
  • Racquela & Michael’s intimate first wedding
  • Their second wedding at Kantara House
  • Choosing wedding gowns
  • Highlighting the venue’s natural charms
  • Racquela and Michael’s wedding vendors
  • How to adapt to unforeseen events
  • Advantages of a nearby honeymoon
  • Dealing with post-wedding blues

Despite all the preparation and planning, there will be a hair or two out of place. Racquela never dreamed of having two weddings. But when her grandmother’s health took a turn for the worse, her husband Michael suggested they get married as soon as possible. True enough, in just a few days, the couple was wedded in her grandmother’s home.

Racquela and Michael’s second wedding was postponed four times due to COVID. The stormy weather brought about a rare flood, leaving the Charlotte Chapel under water. Instead, the ceremony was held under the light canopy of Kantara House. Since nobody has done that before, Racquela and Michael’s wedding felt all the more special.

To couples who might be going through a similar situation, Racquela’s word of advice is to just go with it! Sometimes these unforeseen circumstances become the most unforgettable parts of your big day. They can even turn out better than you could have ever imagined.

Links & Vendors Mentioned:

Folk Lane Photo


The Boys Studio

Bonnie Lass Films

Marry Me Sarah B

Sydney Flower Market

MB Apparel

SK Menswear

Kantara House


Honey-Belle Cakery

Red Soda Band

Kartik Kuna

Hey Sweet Peach

Creative Booth

Ervan Woo

Events to Adore

The Iconic

Rebecca Vallance

Read more of Racquela’s stories on Polka Dot Wedding: 

Racquela’s “How To Marry A Guy In 10 Days” Wedding To Michael

Racquela & Michael’s Perfect Dreamy & Stormy Wedding Day!

Racquela & Michael’s Honeymoon Tales in New South Wales

Pandemic Planning: A Love Letter To COVID Couples!

A Helpful Guide For The Post-Wedding Blues

Racquela & Michael’s Honeymoon Tales in New South Wales

Find Dorothy & the Polka Dot Wedding team:

On Instagram: @polkadotwedding

On the website: polkadotwedding.com

This podcast was produced by Polka Dot Wedding

The Polka Dot Wedding team is honoured to conduct our work on the land of the BoonWurrung, WoiWorung, Eora and Kuring-gai people. We honour the traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders custodians of the land and pay our respects to Elders past & present.

Episode Transcript

Dorothy  00:01

Welcome to The Feel Good Wedding Podcast. A podcast by Polka Dot Wedding. My name is Dorothy and I’m the founder and editor of Polka Dot Wedding. In fact, my alter ego is called Ms Polka Dot. I have written about weddings for over 15 years, but I have loved them since I was tiny, and I love the stories behind them because it’s not just about the details for me.

I love the details. I love a bouquet. I love a cake as much as the next person, but what really drives me and what I’m most excited, is the stories behind it all – the tips and tricks, the vendors who make it happen, and the couples who the stories are told. And so that’s what we are talking about with the Feel Good Wedding podcast.

We’re diving a little bit deeper beyond the pretty, we’re finding out the stories behind those decisions. We’re talking to vendors about their information and tips and tricks, and we are diving into it all with you every two weeks. We’re really looking forward to what we have in store, and we hope that you join us.

The Polka Dot Wedding team is honoured to conduct our work on the land of the BoonWurrung, WoiWorung, Eora, and Kuring-gai people. We honour the traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander custodians of the land and we pay our respects to elders past and present.

Welcome back to another episode of The Feel Good Wedding Podcast. Now at Polka Dot Wedding, we don’t just share weddings written by us, but we also share weddings written by you. Today’s guest is one very special wedding story who has written a number of wonderful posts about her wedding day for us. It is hosted by, of course, Mary, our lovely Ms Rose. Mary, can you tell us a bit about today’s guest?

Mary  01:36

Thanks, Ms Polka. I am just really digging our podcast guests. Today’s is one I’ve been really excited to speak with.  Racquela is a Polka Dot You-featured bride not once, but twice. She’s done some amazing writing for us on Polka Dot Wisdom and Polka Dot Honeymoon, so she’s a PDW pro at this stage and I was so keen to chat with her about her weddings. Racquela and her lovely husband Michael had two weddings.

One was a small intimate affair to include a dear family member and the other was the originally planned day pushed four times thanks to COVID, mind you, but that didn’t mean it was all smooth sailing. Racquela was so generous in sharing her wedding story and her tips and thoughts on how to just roll with what happens during the wedding process or on the day. She also adored her wedding vendors. It was such a source of inspiration and support for her and Michael, and we talk about how important it is to pick the ones for your day who are going to really gel with you, who are on the same page as you, and will make the whole process, even the bumps, just so fun. Sit back and relax for this beautiful chat I had with Racquela.

Dorothy  02:42

I am so looking forward to hearing about these double-digit weddings and I can’t wait to dive in.

Mary   02:46

Hi, Racquela. Thank you so much for chatting with us. We’ve absolutely loved featuring your writing on Polka Dot Wedding and we’re just so excited to actually get to speak to you today. Look, could you start with telling me about how you and Michael met?

Racquela   03:07

Thanks, Mary and thank you so much for having me on the podcast today. I’m so excited to talk all things wedding. Being a post bride, it’s definitely a way to keep me connected in the wedding world with new trends and what’s happening in the world of weddings. Thank you so much. It’s a really great community to be part of. Michael and I, we met at work technically, which is, apparently according to Google, roughly 20% of couples do meet on there, so it’d be interesting to see a bit of a poll we can get going to see how did you meet your partner?

Mary   03:37


Racquela 03:39

We met at work. We didn’t actually talk at work though. It was one of those jobs where he was a security guy and I was a bar wench. We just never really crossed paths, I don’t think. I moved away to study in Sydney and we rekindled a little bit on Instagram, which is very 21st century  – you’ll be quite embarrassed. It was an old liked picture here and I was like, “Oh, who’s this guy?” I liked an old photo of his back and then we just reconnected through messages. We went for a brekkie before work one day and I was texting him, “Date went great.” I was texting him while I was at work saying, “I’m really tired. I can’t be bothered to make dinner,” blah, blah, blah. He said, “No worries. Let’s have dinner tonight,” so our first date actually ended in two dates. Seven years or seven and a half years later, here we are.

Mary 04:30


Racquela   04:32

And we still love Thai food.

Mary  04:36

That’s really sweet. What a sweetheart. I love it. Sure, there were struggles, but you had the delight of being able to have two weddings. Let’s kick it off with wedding number one. Can you set the scene of the day for us and how did it unfold?

Racquela  04:55

Wedding one is really bittersweet. Basically, in short, when we got engaged what felt like a lifetime ago in 2019, we didn’t foresee COVID. To be fair, I don’t think anyone really seen this gigantic global pandemic that essentially shut down the world as we knew it, but we had our plan, like every normal, newly engaged couple to just have a seamless wedding when nothing would go wrong, but of course, that didn’t happen. In 2019, Michael, my now husband, he definitely knew that the most important person in my life was my beautiful grandmother. He asked her for permission to marry me. In response, I guess the deal was that my nan walked me down the aisle, so she gave me away to Michael.

With wedding number one, the world happened, the world stopped and unfortunately, in that period of time, my nan, who was 96 then, she fell quite ill and we got the call that we had just been dreading basically my whole adult life that that was the end of her health journey, and things were bubbling up to do with the health problems that she had. I came home really upset to Michael was talking to him about it and he just said, “Look, let’s get married,” and here, I’m thinking, “We’ve already got a wedding plan. Of course, we’re going to get married. Today’s Tuesday. Let’s get married on Friday.”

We just made it happen and I’m quite lucky that Mike is a builder, so I drew a picture of an arbor and he just made it the next day and good guy and chucked in some chairs, too. My now mother-in-law is a florist, so we just went down to the Sydney florist markets. I picked some colours. I wanted really bright, super bright, totally polar opposite to what we originally had planned. We got married with my nan at her home in Berkeley Vale, which is in the Central Coast. We’re really lucky that where she was, her care facility was one street from the water. We basically just made a wedding out of not a lot and it turned out beautiful. I just got a dress online from Elliott Label, which is a beautiful brand.

Mary 07:04

And you looked fantastic. Oh my goodness. The whole thing was so beautiful.

Racquela   07:10

We were really lucky that we’re supported, obviously, by family. I think what’s so important, I’m sure we’ll get into a bit later, is picking your wedding vendors. I can not say how important having people to really celebrate for you and also with you. We were really lucky to have Elisha, now she’s rebranded as Folk Lane Photo. She was like a bridesmaid, but unofficial bridesmaid. She was a wedding coordinator, everything in one, and she amped us up. She’s like, “Yep, let’s do it. Let’s get married in three days. Who needs 12 months of planning?”

Mary  07:42


Racquela  07:45

Yes. We just made it happen. We had Sarah from Marry Me Sarah B. She was, of course, wonderful. She’s like, I don’t know, she’s the sunshine in any room. She’s so bright and happy and lovely. She just made it seem so normal, like yes, everyone does get married in three days. Of course, we had Bonnie from Bonnie Lass Films, who is incredible. She also related with us. She had her own grandmother that she was really close with, so she knew in that cinematography way to have that day captured in a special way. Even still, no day goes to plan. It rained, which of course it did.

We were really lucky that people who lived on a property near the waterfront, seeing that we’re getting married, that never happened there, and they’re like, “Hey, it’s about to rain. Come on our porch and sign your ceremony documents.” We just ended up on some random’s front porch and signed our marriage certificate. Look, it was very unplanned, very bittersweet, but sometimes I think we’re thrown in situations that don’t necessarily align to what we originally thought. It was a beautiful, bittersweet day. I’m glad I had those memories with my nan.

Mary  08:58

One of the things I was going to ask you was what was something that made that day so special, but you’ve absolutely covered that because the whole point was that your grandmother was there, which I think everybody can understand. For some people, it’s just about going away and the two of you getting married. For other people, it’s about who you surround yourself with on the day as well. I think a really special and important part of your story is that your partner totally got you, totally understood you, totally know what you needed, and totally knows what you need and totally knew what you needed on that week when that all happened. He was so happy to step in and say, “Let’s do this. You need this, I want to do what you need and I need this too.” I think being on the same page when you’re planning or you’re going through these bumps is so, so important. That’s so beautiful. Like you said, you have these bittersweet memories, but you have them and the photos are just beautiful. That’s something that you’ll have forever. I absolutely adore that. Was there anything extra that jumps out at you about that particular day? Was there anything else that was important or meaningful to include on that day?

Racquela  10:15

Yeah. Like I said, nothing goes to plan. The original plan was at that point, with my nan’s health condition, she couldn’t walk no more. I was going to wheel her down the makeshift aisle. Unfortunately, with the weather and COVID still lingering, it probably wasn’t too safe to have her out when it’s quite windy, so we made a pitstop into her room. She knew that I was getting married, she knew that it was my wedding day. That’s one thing I was worried about, is her not knowing why I’m there, but she totally understood. Nan said to me before I left, “Don’t worry, I’m with you.”

Mary  10:53

Oh, my goodness. That’s beautiful.

Racquela  10:56

Yeah. I believe it. She knew what was there. That was one thing that we both really wanted equally between Nan and I, is that she does see me on my wedding day. You know what? She did. It may not have been where we originally planned or when we originally planned, but I think if you strip away certain elements of the day and really work out what’s important for you, obviously, it’s your partner, but also the other elements like is it worth sacrificing certain locations so you can have family members come? Is it worth sacrificing certain dates so you know that someone’s definitely going to be there? And I answered it yes. What’s important is that she was there, we got married, and we had some great people to celebrate. That’s pretty special to me.

Mary  11:43

That’s what I think weddings are about. They’re not about the big show a lot of the time, which is beautiful, don’t get me wrong, we love that, but when you were saying when you strip everything away, this is what it’s about and you absolutely stay true to that. I just think that’s so special and, a lot of the time, unique. I think that’s just gorgeous. You did get to have wedding number two, which is amazing. How did this day unfold? I’m sure there’s a lot that you did differently to the first one. Talk to me about how this came about and the gap between then and COVID was still happening at the same time.

Racquela 12:21

Yeah. We definitely wrote that COVID wave four times with four different dates. You know what? At the time, I definitely wasn’t too happy about it, but on reflection, COVID, although it is something that is quite negative, it’s also brought some new trends to the wedding scene. Can you get married on a Monday without being judged? Absolutely. Can you have a wedding on a Tuesday? Yes. I think COVID has definitely brought a new light to weddings, totally unintentionally. It was our fourth postponement date and it was actually on a Thursday. We wanted to retain all the same vendors, their backlog of 18 months worth of weddings, so I went, “Thursday it is. To my guests, you are also welcome for having an extended long weekend.”

Mary  13:07

Thank you very much.

Racquela  13:11

We got married at the beautiful Kantara House and Karina was our wedding coordinator. It’s a family-ran business and you can tell because they’re so invested. I could tell you a million facts about Karina considering how many times we spoke over the four different dates. Like I said, every wedding comes with their unexpected twists and turns aside from COVID. We got married in a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic, but also a once-in-200-year flood. We had some guests.

Mary  13:42

Oh, just throw it in there.

Racquela  13:46

So I’m talking, text from SES saying, “Hey, you’re in a flood zone.”

Mary  13:49

Oh, my goodness. Okay. Okay. It’s epic.

Racquela   13:54

Sprinkle El Nina in that one too. Look, it was very stressful in the morning, but sometimes things turn out better than planned. We, like I said, got married at the beautiful Kantara House and that was always picked because of the Charlotte Chapel that was flooded. We got married under this sail canopy and I was feeling the morning so sad about. Why do you need to think of a wet weather option for chapel? That doesn’t work. That doesn’t even come to mind.

Mary   14:23

That is the wet weather option.

Racquela   14:25

Yes. The free-flowing creek in between Kantara separating the venue from the chapel was not very tranquil. We ended up having to have a different plan for that one. We got married under the sail, which is usually the canopy area because there’s like fairy lights and things like that. I remember feeling quite defeated in the morning, going, “How can this happen? Why is this happening?” but our photos turned out better and more beautiful.

Mary  14:58

They’re so beautiful.

Racquela  15:00

No one had been married under that before.

Mary  15:03


Racquela  15:04

Yes. New trend at Kantara. No, it was beautiful and in the morning, we ended up doing a first look, which was definitely not something that we discussed because we’re always going to do things very traditional, but we were worried because the venue was quite flooded. It never ever floods either, so it was definitely a once-in-200-year flood. It’s not a flood zone at all, but we thought, “Let’s use this beautiful Airbnb in Booker Bay and we’ll take some photos, do a first look,” and they are my favourite photos where it’s just unplanned. When it came to walking down the aisle, Michael and I walked together, first of all, already married, so we started our own tradition where we walked together down the aisle with my sister. We still got that moment together. I guess it turned out 110% not what I thought and I remember on the morning being so deflated and feeling so sad that you’ve waited all this extra time and COVID and you’ve got a flood and everything else that happens, but on reflection, it was a beautiful day in a rainy flood, but we’re lucky. If I could say anything to any brides or grooms or anyone planning their own wedding is to make sure that you pick vendors because they complement your personality. It’s really cool to find them on Instagram with 200,000 followers and etc. and all these kinds of things, but you need to find someone that you authentically feel comfortable with and connect with. We’re so lucky that we had a bunch of vendors that just got us, for us. We’re not the stagey, posey kind of couple and I definitely don’t feel comfortable in front of the camera, but somehow Elisha made me feel like a celebrity.

Mary  16:40

You absolutely can’t tell that you’re uncomfortable in front of the camera. You look phenomenal. Michael doesn’t look too bad himself, we’ll give him that. You’re so right, the vendors.

Racquela 16:54

It just made us feel comfortable. You forget and then you almost feel like you made it to there, so of course you’re happy to smile and it’s not these random person behind the camera going, “Smile.” It just happens and I definitely didn’t want to have those super posey, almost school photo-like photos. We wanted those authentic moments with friends, family, and of course, with Michael. Apart from the pandemic and La Nina and 100 times different planning and everything else, we’re just really lucky that I think what pulled it together, of course, is Michael and I, but also support from friends, family, but also our vendors. They put in so much work for us and just made it the best day that they could with what they had. I remember feeling a little bit panicked before walking down the aisle because I hadn’t seen it. I am a little bit of a perfectionist, so I was worried that I didn’t know what the ceremony looked like. I remember sitting down before going down the aisle and going, “Oh my god, what does it look like? What do the flowers look like? What is happening? Where are we even getting married?” Sarah just sat me down was like, “Hey, you’re actually getting married. Let’s go. You’re okay. Everything’s fine. You’re perfect. You look good. Michael looks good. Your friends are here. Let’s go. You’re okay.” And then I was like, “Yeah. Yeah, I’m fine. Let’s go.” She just knew what to say. If I’m a stressed person, it’s one of those things where you hide, whereas “Sarah, I just didn’t know what to do,” and she was like, “Let’s go. You’re totally fine.”

Mary   18:22

“I’ll tell you what to do. I’ll give you a hand and we’ll talk it through and then we’ll go along.” I think the fact that all of these things happened on the day and you rejigged them, like you’re doing the first look that you hadn’t planned, walking down the aisle together, all these sort of things you did not foresee for this day, and then they happened and it gives a nod back to just rolling with it a bit, doesn’t it? You can’t plan for absolutely everything, so instead of pushing back, just go, “Yep. Okay. We’re taking a step forward and we’re just going with it. We’re going with what the day is going to be.” You can get these incredibly special moments I think because they are unplanned and you remember them because they haven’t been in this lineup. Yeah, authentic. Exactly. Exactly. I know it was quite different to your first wedding, but did it feel any different to the first wedding day? In what sort of way?

Racquela  19:22

Definitely. I think because it was more the first wedding was during the really harsh period of COVID where it was maximum of so many people at your house and all the radiuses and things like that where you couldn’t really celebrate I guess and all it was was a very legals only ceremony because we just wanted it to be short and sharp given Nan couldn’t stay out for too long, so it was very almost scheduled where you go and get married, sign the paperwork, tell your family you love them, and go home, whereas this one was I got to wear my beautiful gown and Michael had his suit on. Look, everyone in wedding is always happy. How can you be sad in a wedding?

Mary   20:03

How could you? How could you possibly?

Racquela   20:07

Yep. Everyone’s dancing. We had Red Soda with Kartik singing. We had BrewBike there who makes the most best cocktails in a bike.

Mary  20:17

Who would think?

Racquela   20:19

Jesse is so cool. He’s just stumbling around on his bike, giving out people espresso martinis.

Mary   20:25

Thank you so much. Sorry. You’re here for a good time.

Racquela   20:33

It was just more of a celebration feel, I think. Like I said, the other one was quite bittersweet. Bitter of why it’s happening, but sweet because it is, whereas this one was that true wedding feel and every bride or groom who’s been married previously, you do feel extra special in your day, because everyone’s like, “How’s your day? Everyone’s coming up to you.” I can’t explain it. I feel like your wedding day, people always say it goes really fast. I remember listening to people tell me, “Before you get married, enjoy every moment.” I remember thinking in my head, “Oh, my god. Leave me alone. I think I know,” but it’s true, right? You should enjoy every moment because it does go really fast and rain, rain, hail, flood or shine, it just goes by so fast.

Mary   21:18

It zooms by. You’re so right and instead trying to think of these moments of how can I capture this in a way, I think one thing that my husband and I said to each other before or that we’ve discussed before our wedding years ago now, was we sort of put our playlist together and said, “If you hear this song, make sure we look at each other. That’s one of our songs.” It was one of these things that we knew we wanted to do throughout the day and I think it’s saying, “Yeah, it goes so fast,” but maybe sneaking away together or appointing someone in your family or one of your friends to put a timer on even and say, “Hey, it’s been 20 minutes. Find each other again,” if you’re not together. Just making sure that you get to stop together, I think is so important. I can tell that even from the pictures in the features, your first wedding was so sweet and so intimate. I can tell from your second wedding, it was so fun. You can see the fun, you can see that everyone was just joyful.

Racquela  22:31

I think because it was a long time coming too. We had an army of people who were waiting for this day other than us. It was so long in the planning and I think everyone felt a heartbreak with each additional postponement where when the day came, everyone was like, “Oh, my God, finally. It’s happening.” We had an extra long runway to get there, I guess, but everyone was so amped up for us and I think that’s also what’s important. Big events definitely bring out or show you who is really there supporting you in your corner. I think that was one pro, I guess, that came out of postponing a million times. You definitely do find out different ways that people who are super supportive of you and people who are super happy and ones that really care too. I think the people that we had there were so happy that we got to celebrate with because they bring joy and it is a party. It’s a beautiful ceremony between you and your significant other and you legalise your marriage, but then what’s the reception for? You’re still binding, everyone’s celebrating your love, so it’s not just a party like a birthday party. They’re celebrating two people and what they’ve curated together in their lives together. It was a really fun day minus all of the floods and the SES text messages and the free-flowing creek unintentionally being the Amazon. It was just fun and special.

Mary   24:07

Amazing. That’s amazing. You mentioned your gown before. Your gowns for each of your wedding days, they were different. As was the colour scheme for each of your days, like you mentioned. Can you tell us how you chose each gown and your thoughts behind each of them and how you chose them?

Racquela   24:25

I definitely wanted something a little more conservative for Nan but also had 72 hours, so whatever online shop did express posting and that was the match. Iconic is always reliable, so I just popped on there and found this dress familiar. I love Elliott. They make really eccentric, different dresses and stuff like that, so I just happened to see that one. I was like, “Yep, add to cart. Next day delivery, done.” There wasn’t really a lot of thought, I guess. It was just what was there and what I could get. My other dress, so that one was a high neck number, long sleeve with tassels around it a bit. I was really lucky that it just fit like a glove. Meant to be.

Mary   25:06

Looks fantastic. It was just beautiful. Well done. It’s just such a quick shop, I love it. Meant to be. That’s beautiful.

Racquela  25:13

Definitely. Well, if it didn’t fit, I would’ve had to make it – we have time. That’s that one. I got The Boys Studio again to do my makeup for both because I can’t fault Dean. I don’t know. He’s just the best in the business in the whole of Newcastle with his makeup. My other dress, I definitely knew what I wanted, I think. Tried on a bunch of different dresses, some that I thought I would really like. I thought I would want a long-sleeve dress as well, but I think because I am so short, it just made me feel even shorter. A lot of fabric on a small person. I just didn’t really know what I wanted, and then I tried on a couple and I just couldn’t find something. I think I do like the eccentric – the different sorts of dresses, but I found this fabric that I loved and got it altered and completely altered and literally drew a picture. Ervan Woo, he’s a master at all things creative. I literally drew a picture. I was like, “Can you please make this into this?” and he just did.

Mary Jacoby  26:18


Racquela   26:19

There it was. It was a little bit anxiety-producing, I guess, because you don’t know what the finished product is until closer to the day, but I just had full faith in that’s what I liked and that fabric I liked and Ervan was just really comforting, I guess. His portfolio is amazing, so I had no faults there. It was just sweetheart neckline with a wide bodice and a droopy off-the-sleeves neckline and then quite tight like a mermaid fit but not quite, and then had an overskirt so it was quite formal at the start.

Mary   26:53

It was absolutely stunning.

Racquela   26:55

For the party time and then last minute, I got a Rebecca Vallance dress with a bow at the back for the reception, which thank goodness I did because it was so wet on our wedding day that my train of my dress was like a sponge. It was just absorbing so much water. When I entered the reception room, it was beautiful floorboards with white crisp walls and everything that Kantara is in all its glory. I felt like you could see a trail of where I’ve walked because the sponge that is my dress was just leaving almost like a snail trail behind. I was very glad that I had a second dress.  If anyone is considering that second dress – get that second dress. Do it. It’s worth it.  You need it.

Mary   27:37

And it looks so fun. It looked like you had a ball on it. Your colour schemes, you were saying that for your first wedding, you chose quite bright colours. For your second wedding, there were a lot more sort of neutrals and that Bohemian look to it. How did you decide on the Bohemian neutral look for your second wedding? What made you choose the bright ones?

Racquela   28:03

I think I loved bright always, but I was always a bit worried to be a bit bold, I guess. I don’t know if it’ll be too much. This one, when it popped up, I was like, “I want nothing similar. I want to have really bright colours.” That was it. I actually didn’t really know. I don’t think I’m creative naturally, but when we went down to Sydney Flower Markets, I literally just picked a bunch of things that I thought might go together all right, and turns out it did, so I was happy with that one. I just thought, “Purples and reds, okay, that’ll do. We’ll add in a couple of whites and whatever else I can find.” We just had a play. It was actually quite fun because it wasn’t a pressured environment. It was we’ll put it together and blah, blah, blah. It just didn’t feel a lot of pressure whereas the second wedding, I think there was extra pressure from COVID and everything, so I was a little bit stressed. A lot of our flowers we had to change last minute because of the flood and a lot of the flowers were stuck in Brisbane. Kantara is very green. It’s like a Whitsunday tropical vibe meets tradition, with chapel. Everything is green and white, so I think if we had those really, really bright colours, I’m not sure if it would reflect the traditional style of Kantara. I think it is one of those venues where I think having those more neutral colours makes the wine of the chapel pop a bit more. It lends itself to I guess the feel of the venue, but I definitely loved we put a lot of gold flecks. That was our modern twist on a traditional venue is happening. The gingko leaves and things like that, so in my bouquet, there was a lot of gold. They’re actually false flowers where they’re plastic almost, where they’re really golden. That was my eccentric flair in there a little bit. We wanted to keep it a little bit more neutral with the girls’ bridesmaid dresses. I think if we have those really bright colours, it might be a little bit much. It was all pinks and golds and whites and browns, I definitely loved the orchids most.

Mary  30:22

That was beautiful. I think that what you’re saying in terms of working with the venue as opposed to going, “Here’s the venue. This is the venue I want, throw what I want in it,” because you’re anyone can do that. It’s your wedding, you get to do and create whatever you want, but the fact that you looked at the venue and went, “Hang on a minute, what’s actually going to suit the venue? How is this going to feel on the day?” It’s not just about the photos or the video or anything like that. It’s how you feel when you actually are there and when your guests are there and how that translates into the ambience of the day. You’re saying having bolder colours probably would not have suited the venue. I think that’s really clever to actually have thought about that and incorporated the venue in that bit of planning as well. I think it probably also makes it a bit easier because you’re going, “Well, I’ve got a guideline there. I’m just going to roll with it,” and it looks. It looks incredible. You’ve done so well, and here you are saying you’re not creative. Oh my goodness, I beg to differ.

Racquela   31:29

I think I’m winning something that you can just pick that’s so personal. It was also your flowers have to suit your dress. I think my dress, because the fabric was quite eccentric, 3D, I don’t know if I want to have a big pool of colours. I’m biased, but I think Kantara was beautiful.

Mary   31:46

It was stunning. Even unbiased, you’re absolutely right. It’s beautiful. You’ve mentioned throughout our chat your vendors, who you can tell that you just gelled with and absolutely love. Who were your standout vendors on the day?

Racquela   32:02

All of them, full stop.

Mary   32:03

All of them. I know. I would be just so good to say that, wouldn’t it? Just, “All of them. They’re all wonderful.”

Racquela   32:11

I definitely gelled with all of them, I think, because they’re a part of our story. Planning the wedding 100 different times, you definitely get to know them a lot better. Also, what’s important too that I had to remember is during COVID, wedding vendors aren’t just doing it as a side gig or a hobby. It’s generally their passions themselves. People who are in photography or videography or even celebrants, they do it because they love the gig. I think during COVID, their work also paused. I don’t know, I think that maybe we gelled with them because there was a common ground there where there was empathy on both sides. One is people in this industry are really suffering. They’re not being able to do their jobs and then on the other side, brides and grooms, they can’t get married and family members fall ill or venues shut down or whatever it is that there was a common ground. We gelled over that kind of stuff, I guess, at the start. Elisha who is now branded as Folk Lane Photo, she was amazing. Like I said, she was basically recruited as an unofficial bridesmaid. She helped me with the bridesmaid dresses even before I showed the girls and she’s seen my dress before my own friends did and she just really helped navigate that wedding process. I feel like she’s been a part of so many different weddings herself that she almost knows the schedules of things and how things should run, so she was a really good person to triple-check with ideas within colour schemes and things like that because she had been to Kantara a couple of times before. She was just a wonderful person to talk to and we still chat here and there now, which is really nice that I can do, keep in touch and stuff like that. I don’t know, I think you can tell she’s not a photographer just because she has to do it. She chose to be a photographer because she loves it and she’s passionate about the weddings. She crafts and she uses her pictures to tell a story of the day. She was definitely a standout. There’s also Bonnie from Bonnie Lass Films. Like I said, what I love about her work is that she gets to know the couple to be able to tell their story in video. If we think logically they’re filming for eight to 10 hours a day and you wrap it up to a 30-minute video. How do you do that?

Mary  34:26

Amazing. The talent in that. I know. It blows my mind how they can take that and go, “All right, we need to pick all these incredible special moments,” and there will be so many moments.

Racquela   34:37

So many. “What are the ones that are perfect for the people that I’m representing?”  I don’t know how to describe Bonnie. She’s so cool and calm, but she’s also so cheeky and funny. I feel like she’s just this equal balance of fun meets professional, but also she just has this way of, like I said, wrapping up eight to 10 hours. I don’t know how, but then craft it in a way that when I watched my video, I felt like Michael and I had picked these videos and mashed them together because it was an authentic representation of us. Bonnie was just great to liaise with. Also, Marry Me Sarah B, so Sarah Brown. When we started talking with her, she was relatively new to the celebrant scene and I’d just seen her on Instagram and her website and I love that she was all about fun. I think there’s nothing worse than going to a wedding ceremony and it’s very autopilot and things like that. Sarah just brings this big sun energy I guess, which you definitely need during La Nina, but she’s just really fun, charismatic. She gets the audience involved and not one ceremony is a copy and paste of the other. The way that she told our story and things like that, you could tell that she had spent some time drafting a script for it and things like that, but she was also great, just have to check in and, “How you feeling,” etc. Like I said, before the ceremony, she was amazing.

Of course, Karina from Kantara House. Like I said, it’s a family-run business, but Karina, her only job is running that business during COVID and she would be dealing with not just me as a bride, but probably 50 others at a time, but she never made you feel like that. On the day, Karina just wanted the best of everything. I remember the night before the wedding, she rang me and she was actually flooded out of her own home. She was flooded out of her own home. She was at her relatives’ house FaceTiming me, going, “Potentially, my house is flooded, but don’t worry about that. How you feeling?” You can just tell that she lives and breathes that wedding and she puts her heart and soul into creating and crafting weddings there. I could go on a million miles about that. Mitch and Dean from Boys Studio are fabulous in hair and makeup. If anyone in the Newcastle region has an event or wedding or just want to go and get glammed because, go to them. I just said the morning of to Dean and Mitch, “Can you please make me look better?” I didn’t even give any requests. I just thought,” They know better than I do.” I’m a BB cream girl, so I don’t really know all of this stuff. I just said, “Do your thing.”

Mary   34:59

Work your magic.

Racquela   37:07

Work your magic. “Make me look like a bride and please make me look like a bride who’s not stressing. I’ve been stressing out all morning.”

Mary 37.10

you were stressing out all morning…

Racquela   37:19

But no, they’re great. And obviously Jesse from BrewBike. He’s just so cool. I mean, cocktails in a bike. I don’t know. I don’t need to say anything else.

Mary   37:26

That’s it. That’s the pitch. That’s the sell.

Racquela  37:31

Yeah. I don’t know, he’s just a really cool guy. I’m hoping I haven’t forgot anyone, but he’s just a really fun guy. There’s SK Menswear where Michael got his suits from. They were great, and also MB Tailoring in Newcastle. They were wonderful to liaise with to get Michael’s suit tailored. Fun fact is he had to get a new suit four days before the wedding, so thank you SK Menswear for ordering that one nice and quick.

Mary   37:56

Shout out guys. Thank you.

Racquela   38:00

We had to get that sorted. I don’t know. Honey-Belle Cakery made our cake and she’s great. She’s a friend of a friend, so she was really fun to be creative with and she loves to do eccentric stuff. She was really good at making sure that the cake is something that hadn’t been seen before, I guess. It’s something that was a little bit different. We had swirls and patterns rather than florals and stuff like that, so we wanted something just a little bit different. That was really good. We also had Events to Adore. She is wonderful and fun fact, we met because the arbor that we made for our first wedding, we actually gave to her for her business. I didn’t really know her business that well. I was chasing these particular gold candles and I happened to stumble across her and I was like, “Oh, there we go.” She just helped with heaps of stuff. She gave us candles. She does dry hire as well as styling. Her styling is beautiful. Events to Adore is amazing at what they do. You can definitely tell that she’s a stylist and also a perfectionist, which is very important for someone who is doing all the decor. We’re also lucky that we have lots of different people. We also had Creative Booth who’s after photo booths. Red Soda Band who is great. Kartik also was on Australian Idol not too long ago.

Mary   39:24

Nice. Fun fact.

Racquela  39:28

Hey Sweet Peach, I met her in 2019 in a Facebook wedding group chat and she was just a mom from home doing a couple of table signs. Turns out now post-COVID, she’s a big booming business in Adelaide. Hey Sweet Peach for all your stationery needs. We were very lucky to be surrounded with a lot of vendors. What I loved is some of the vendors that we had weren’t big booming in the wedding industry just yet, so it’s really nice to be able to feel a little bit more connected, that you weren’t just a number. Kantara House hadn’t been opened up that long before we booked it as well. We’re really lucky to get to know Karina. Kantara House, they bought it as a family business and they renovated it into what it is today, so they definitely have put their heart and soul into that venue. Vendors are so important. I’ve just rattled off.

Mary   40:22

Oh, they are.

Racquela  40:23

So important. Given our situation is definitely -100 out of 10 for what it was, we are so lucky to have them because it just made it better.

Mary  40:35

They just let the day run with you, don’t they? You just give them your vision, send them your vision, and a lot of the time, they can just run with it. The good thing is we do have all of Racquela’s vendors all listed on the features that Racquela has written for us or of her weddings that you can check out. We’ll link to all of those. They’re all going to be there so that you can absolutely check them out. Don’t worry if you feel like you’ve missed anyone, they’re all going to be part of it. They’re all on there.

Racquela   41:11

They do just make it better. They’re celebrating for you and I think anyone who’s in the wedding industry is in there because they love it. Like I said, who can be mad at a wedding?

Mary   41:20

I know. It’s so beautiful.

Racquela   41:24

Sometimes, we even have martinis in a bike because you can’t be mad.

Mary   41:27

You can’t. Martini in a bike, it’s just the best thing. I think it should just be an event staple. If couples are in a similar position and having to create two weddings, and especially one that’s done at short notice, what advice would you have for them that you would be able to give to them, going through that similar situation?

Racquela  41:50

I feel like I said before where someone said to me, “Just go with it pre-bride. Just go with it.” I used to think in my head, “Be quiet. You don’t know what it’s like,” blah, blah, blah, but I actually feel like I’m going to be a bit of a hypocrite here and go, “You need to go with it.” Sometimes, if you do in similar situations because you do plan a wedding usually 12 to 18 months in advance, is that if you are in a similar situation where a family member does fall ill or maybe you need to speed up the wedding process or whatever reason that may be, is that sometimes things work out better than you had imagined. Even stuff to do with our wedding number two, with the chapel and the canopy switch around and all this stuff, is that I, on the day probably not, but in hindsight, I’m so glad that did because our photos are so different to every other couple that’s going to go to Kantara and that’s special for us. If the wedding one, family is important, obviously. You can have something and it will turn out better than you imagined. I didn’t picture or foresee our wedding day being what it was, but I’m so glad that it was at the same time. We have two lots of beautiful wedding photos and two weddings are better than one, provided that’s the same for the bride. I guess the only advice I have is go with it. It’s going to turn out better than what you had imagined and what would be worse is not doing it and living in regret.

Mary   43:19

Absolutely. Great advice. So good. Just go with it. Just go with it. Just go with your gut and just roll with what works for you guys as a couple. Now, we have also been so lucky to feature your beautiful honeymoon on Polka Dot Honeymoons as well. Travelling in New South Wales to stay at luxury resorts, does this show us yet again that we have some wonderful venues, resorts, and countryside to explore right on our doorstep? Do you think this is something that needs to be more explored?

Racquela  43:49

Yes. I think in the wedding world, I feel like you get swept up in there’s so many preludes to the event. We’ve got our hands, bridal showers, engagement parties, blah, blah, blah, then the wedding, then straight away, the honeymoon. It always seems that the honeymoon has to be this big 12-hour plane ride to somewhere and whatever. Do that if you want to. I personally am a bad traveler. Anyone else shares a similar fear of not particularly liking planes, I hear you and I feel you. We had, again, COVID. We had all of the border restrictions and it was put in that too hard basket. Another positive thing that COVID has brought out, of course, is not necessarily the luxury, but the free pass to explore what’s within a drivable or reachable distance. I’ve always loved the Blue Mountains. Personally, we’ve gone there a couple of times, particularly in winter, because it’s cozy, but I’ve never really looked outside Katoomba, I guess, because that’s the heart of where you go, where the cafes and things are. I stumbled across this place called Guestlands in Sydney. It’s in Arcadia. I think it’s Arcadia Vale in Sydney and I wouldn’t think to honeymoon or begin a honeymoon potentially an hour and a half from our house that doesn’t feel very honeymoon, but when we got there, it was beautiful. Now, it’s within reachable distance. Maybe one anniversary, we’ll go back there.

Mary   45:17

I love that. That’s such a beautiful part of it you can relive. Some, they might go, “We’ve gone overseas for our honeymoon and yes, we’re going to keep doing that for our anniversary,” but if that’s something that’s not available to you, those sort of memories each year, if you’ve gone somewhere that’s quite close, that’s so special. It’s so clever.

Racquela   45:42

I’m definitely not dissing big chain hotels, but maybe explore ways or places that are a little outside that norm. The places that we went were if I was to go to Sydney, it wouldn’t be the first place I would stop by. I think what’s important is if you are going to book a honeymoon or some sort of special getaway, look for those more obscure places or those one-off bed and breakfasts or boutique hotels because, for example, Guestlands, they were the couple that designed their beautiful boutique accommodation, they lived there, so it was their home and you could walk in, you could feel it was their home. They celebrated our wedding with us and they made us pizza and it was really fun. The accommodation that we had in the Blue Mountains was also beautiful. It’s quite scenic. It was country, it was away from that area. Of course, we topped it off with Wolgan Valley, which was definitely no words, amazing, five stars, 10 stars even. I think each place was different, but same. The first one was very homely, but we needed that after a wedding where you just come down and chill out, have a reason to sit in, eat pizza or watch a movie. That’s what we needed. The next one was a little bit explore adventure, country-esque. The last one was total relaxation retreat. I think all the places that we picked were complimentary of what we needed at that period of time, I felt. I think, yeah, explore what’s around. Why does the honeymoon have to be overseas? Why does a honeymoon have to be a plane trip? Why does a honeymoon have to be travel? I personally don’t like travel, like I said. It’s not to say you can’t do it, but why is it going to be another thing to organise?

Mary   47:28

That’s another tradition to break a little bit if it’s not you. If it’s something that you go, “Well, this is the honeymoon, it has to be a big event,” you’ve just come off a big event. Do you need another big event?

Racquela  47:41

Do you need to organise another thing? You need to pack a suitcase. Do you need to remember this? Do you need to remember that? It’s just another thing that I think when you’re planning a wedding, you are ticking so many boxes. It’s just another box to take where have I packed everything? Have I done these? Have I done that? Go to the airport. Have I got everything? Questioning yourself. You just need to lull and be in your own little love bubble with your significant other and enjoy time. Whether that’s an hour from your house or 10 hours, the point of a honeymoon is to celebrate just you two, of what’s just happened. It’s exciting time because you get your preview, sneak peek photos, and all that you can look at together. I remember getting our photos on our honeymoon and we’re just sitting there looking through the photos, having pizza. Perfect. That was great in my eyes.

Mary   48:29

Exactly. We just said, one of the advantages of not going too far for your honeymoon is not having to plan a huge big thing straight after having just planned a huge big thing, your wedding. Do you think there are other advantages for holidaying closer to home?

Racquela  48:47

I guess it’s up to individual circumstances. Maybe work doesn’t meet that. Some professions like mine in particular isn’t too conducive for taking time off. I’m a school teacher, so I don’t really want to take time off during the term. Maybe it’s things like that where it’s up to individual circumstances. Some couples have children and that’s a big ask to leave them for such a long period of time. I think maybe people just don’t want to have to organise or maybe there are things or places that you’ve always wanted to go. I’ve personally always wanted to go to Wolgan Valley one day and honeymoon was the excuse to do it. If you’re going to do it, might as well do it then. Maybe there’s places that are around you that you’ve always wanted to go to and it’s something that’s special that you can return to. Do you really need to have that big trip if it’s something else added? If you love traveling and it doesn’t seem as a burden or it’s something that is relaxing for you, not stressful, then of course to take the trip. Go to Maldives. Go to Bora Bora. Go wherever you feel you would go. Go to Europe, if that’s the flavour. If COVID’s brought another thing to us, it’s that you can explore what’s in your own backyard and still have a similar experience, whether that’s the beach or country or whatever it is. I’m sure somewhere in the state, you can get a similar experience.

Mary   50:13

Well, that’s the thing with Australia, isn’t it? We’re so lucky. We’re a big country and we have so much to offer in terms of scenery and culture. There’s so much to see, especially in terms of budget as well. For a lot of couples, you’ve spent a lot on a wedding and maybe you go, “Well, do you know what? We’re just going to tighten the purse strings a bit and just duck off somewhere that we’re still going to have time together, we’re still going to have this romantic, beautiful moment with just us after the wedding, but you can’t always afford to zoom off and do it.” It’s such another plus.

Racquela  50:52

Who you made the rule that you have to honeymoon two days after the wedding?

Mary  50:55

I know. That’s huge. Another tradition. Who brought that in, another tradition? Another one, it’s probably something quite archaic, actually.

Racquela   51:06

When you really think about it…

Mary   51:07

I know, maybe we shouldn’t.

Racquela   51:13

Maybe you are flooded in in January. Who said you can’t have a honeymoon until June?

Mary   51:15

Exactly. Exactly.

Racquela   51:16

Who decided that can be? We need to talk to some people.

Mary  51:20

I know. That’s very good. Let’s break some rules. Let’s be rule breakers. Let’s crush these. Let’s crush them. Let’s get rid of them. You were so beautiful and you wrote about the post-wedding blues for us. Apart from reading this timely post, how do you suggest couples deal with settling down into married life and dealing with all the questions, the regrets, the feeling flat, all of that once the wedding day is over?

Racquela   51:44

I think it’s natural. Planning a wedding and being a bride or a groom in a wedding is the only thing you need to do once and then you are an absolute expert because you’ve done it. I think naturally, when you take a step back, you go, “But I should have added this and I should have added that and I should have done this differently.” It’s natural to plan an event that’s so significant and personal that you naturally take a step back and go, “Oh, should have changed this. Should have done. Oh, I missed this opportunity or I missed this moment or I didn’t get this photo.” At the heart of hearts, remember why you did it. As much as Pinterest changes, Pinterest probably changes, what, every three to six months, weddings can be replicated, but your own can’t. Different flower arrangements can be replicated, but your own experiences can’t. I think what’s important is to remember, of course, the moments that you did enjoy and someone else could be looking at your wedding, going, “Oh, wow, I wish I did what they did.” Maybe you are that person that those images of your wedding that people wish that they did do. I think it’s natural and social media is in our palm of our hands 10 hours a day, so of course we’re going to see all these posts and of course, you’re going to question that you didn’t do things. I questioned for ages, “Why didn’t I do champagne tower?” and really does that have…

Mary  53:00

At the end of the day, they’re amazing, but there are other things that you had that were just as amazing.

Racquela   53:06

I think we just are naturally critical as people who have our own events because I guarantee, for example, if I picked a different blend of linen for a napkin, are my guests are going to go, “Why did she pick this blend?” No.

Mary  53:22

They never do.

Racquela   53:23

Do we think about the thread count of a linen? Not at all. I think those things that we naturally pick, probably, your guests won’t. I think what I’m trying to get at is you picked your wedding or you had your wedding and it was your day, no one else’s, and no one’s going to be able to relive your experiences. Take a step back and relish in the fact that you’ve got to have those experiences. Champagne towers or not, but relish in the experiences that you’ve had because no one else can have those. Trends are going to come and go. I’m sure my wedding will look almost prehistoric in the next 10 years because there’ll be some new wedding trend that I’ll look back at, “Why didn’t I do that?” but that’s a part of trends. Often, we see trends recycle. My mom’s dress was this big, poofy, illustrious, big dress and I’m sure in the next couple of decades, that’s going to be back here. Trends cycle and repeat. I think obviously, if you’re feeling down, talk to your friends and confide in those people who support you, but also be happy that you got your day or be happy that you got to celebrate in all the elements that you picked. You picked your dress and you picked your veil and your hair and your makeup, etc. Maybe focus on how you felt on the day, not what you see in your pictures.

Mary   54:39

I love it. That’s absolutely perfect. Also, you’ve written a ton of other ideas for anyone who is feeling a little flat, a little sad that the day is over. You had some terrific thoughts on ways to battle that and I absolutely loved it. Racquela, thank you so much. I’ve loved talking about your weddings. I got to read about them, I got to read about all your different planning with your COVID changes, your honeymoon, going through the post-wedding blues. It has been so lovely to actually get to speak with you about your wedding planning experience and all of your memories, so thank you so much for coming on the podcast with us. I’ve just loved chatting with you. Thank you.

Racquela  54: 42

Thanks so much Mary. I think we could weddings all day – we could!

Mary: 54: 50

We need a series two or an episode one, episode two of us and we’ll bring you back.

Racquela   55:36

Thank you so much for having me. It is really cool to think that platforms like Polka Dot, those wedding vendors come together and brides and grooms can get inspiration. It’s just a platform for like-minded people, everyone who loves weddings. I think it’s a really special platform that’s been great to be a part of and I feel extra special to even be in a podcast. I’m so thankful to be able to publish my words and thoughts and it’s almost therapeutic in a way to write about things, so I’m really thankful to be on the podcast and hopefully, I’ll be chatting to you again soon about something else wedding-related.

Mary   56:13

I would love that. We would absolutely love that.

Racquela   56:16

Thank you so much, Mary.

Mary   56:17

You’re so welcome.

Dorothy  56:22

If you’d like to read more about either of Racquela’s beautiful days or find out more about her honeymoon and her wedding day advice, head on over to weddingpodcast.com.au. Over there, we have all the photos, all the vendors, and of course, a written transcript for today’s episode.

We would love your feedback on the Feel Good Wedding Podcast. We’d love your reviews, your ideas, your thoughts, and your plans, so head on over to your favourite platform. We’re on Instagram, Pinterest, Tiktok, and all the rest because we would love to interact with you and find out who is listening. We will be back in another two weeks with another episode. See you then.