As Australia rides the Coronacoaster together, we thought it fitting to stick close to home this August issue and celebrate all thing LOCAL on Polka Dot Honeymoons!

Going beyond Australia’s big towns and cities we’re pulling out the virtual road map and visiting regional and rural Australia, exploring hidden gems, tasting incredible indigenous ingredients and celebrating local produce, people and possibilities.

We’ll hear from regional wedding vendors from The Blue Mountains, Macedon Ranges and FNQ, invite you to local drinkeries and watering holes, talk locally sourced florals, gowns and styling and show you how you can support local wedding vendors who need us more than ever. It is truly their time to shine.

And golly do we have some  stunning rural and regional weddings to share with you, from the Yarra Valley, Margaret River and Claire Valley and beyond.

So head down to your local café, grab a coffee and a locally baked treat, then sit back and enjoy all that our country, off the beaten track has to offer.

Follow along for all the fun here.

Polka Dot Bride Shop

Is there anything more romantic than being swept off your feet and whisked a world away? We might not be able to go far right now, but we can take a step back in time at these beautiful hotels where it’s all about bringing the old world glamour back to life in serious style.

COMO The Treasury, Perth, WA

Bells ring out across Cathedral Square, drifting up from St. George’s Cathedral, past the colonnade of Corinthian columns, through the French doors of the Juliet balcony, to drift softly across to the bed. It’s a fairytale peal you’d expect to hear in the cobblestoned streets of Europe, not the heart of Perth’s CBD. And therein lies the beauty of COMO The Treasury. Housed in the 19th century State Buildings, and lovingly restored a few years back in a multi-million dollar restoration, it is a study in understated elegance that’s perfect for honeymooners or newlyweds looking to hide away from the world. Step inside the achingly elegant front door, stroll the arched corridors, trail your fingers along the wooden balustrade of the steel staircase and open the front door (yes, it is a front door) to your oversized room. You won’t want to leave.

The grand Victoria façade of this boutique hotel might speak to decadence, but it’s all about paired back opulence inside. Rooms are white and bright, with touches of light oak wood, creamy drapes, lowline grey daybeds and beautiful golden sandy stone floors in the bathroom (heated Travertine tiles) that are a totally different kind of decadence. In Heritage rooms looking out over Cathedral Square, the bathroom has its own French doors, and a full-size tub that would be criminal not to use.

It’s tempting not to leave your room, and with an all-inclusive mini bar (craft beer, juice, sparkling water, jars of chocolates, cookies and nuts), you won’t need to for a while. But the hotel’s award-winning Wildflower restaurant was made for special occasions. Local produce is transformed under Executive Chef Kim Brennan’s touch, add some sparkling wine from Margaret River, and you’re all set. If you’d prefer a lower key meal with your special someone, there’s Post, newly focused on light, modern Italian fare or Petition Kitchen where top notch Australian fare is served in a moody, industrial chic space. Petition Wine Bar & Merchant is perfect for a pre or post dinner drink, but you can also grab a bottle straight from the shelves of its ‘library’ to take back to your room. It’s also worth carving out time for a visit to COMO Shambhala Urban Escape – the hotel group’s wellness experiences are world famous, and here you get to indulge in a massage, yoga session or facial inside the original vault of the building.

 Lilianfels Resort and Spa, Blue Mountains, NSW

You can’t get any more old world than the dining room at Lilianfels in the Blue Mountains. The high-end boutique hotel’s Darley’s Restaurant is famous for serious silver service. Get your partner to dust off their tails or tux (okay, a jacket and tie will do, but where’s the fun in that?), whip out your padded headband (again, not compulsory) and get ready for a decadent affair surrounded by chandeliers and plenty of gold finishing. Three course meals with a focus on local produce is the name of the game – in winter a table by one of the open fireplaces is ideal, and in summer a window seat looking out at the bushland is always a winner.

 Primus Hotel, Sydney, NSW

If you love shopping at The Strand or walking through the Queen Victoria Building, make a beeline for this beautiful Art Deco hotel tucked into the corner of Pitt and Bathurst Streets in Sydney’s CBD. The heritage listed building opened to the public as the Primus Hotel five years ago, and wowed us all with its dramatic ground floor – eight metre high rosy marble columns, gilded bar and low line velvet arm chairs are just the beginning.

The Hotel Windsor, Melbourne, VIC

If you’ve ever dreamed of descending a staircase Disney Princess-style, this is the spot for you. Melbourne’s grand old dame has stood bold and beautiful on Spring Street since 1883, and has hosted too many celebrities and politicians to count. The Hotel Windsor’s famous Afternoon Tea service is all about fine china and petit fours, suites and rooms are a study in old world chic with just the right amount of chintz to make your heart swell, and that staircase; it is the stuff of wedding photo dreams.

Ms Floral Says: These hotels would make for the most perfect, cosy honeymoon! How lucky are we to have so many great historic stays all over Australia.

About Lisa Perkovic: Lisa has spent the past decade travelling the world writing for Australia’s leading newspapers, magazines and blogs about all things travel. Her own honeymoon was her pièce de résistance – an epic journey to the Maldives and South Africa. Now she loves nothing more than sharing destinations and tips to help other newlyweds work out how to have the honeymoon of their dreams.

Image by  Zee and Cee Studio via Blake and Bec’s Romantic Winery Wedding

If you’re anything like us, big moments can make you a little sentimental and it’s nice to have something that helps you reflect on those happy memories. And, if you’re a wine lover itching to start your collection, your wedding might be the perfect reason. Why not kick it off with a bottle commemorating your big day?

Pair this with a trip to two of our favourite wineries (Audrey Wilkinson and Tahbilk) for your honeymoon and the fun really begins. We’ve also included some tips on how to build your collection that will help you as you explore these wineries, as well as others around Australia.

Audrey Wilkinson

To get your new hobby of wine collecting off to the best start, why not spend the weekend at one of the three guest cottages on offer at Audrey Wilkinson? Audrey Wilkinson is proudly one of the oldest wineries in the Hunter Valley region having been established in 1866; and it’s here that you can truly unwind making the most of the 360 degree views of the Hunter Valley. During your stay not only can you experience the cellar door but you could also enjoy a Fortified and Fromage Experience, winery tour or a picnic among the vines.

Image via Audrey Wilkinson

Tahbilk Winery

Located in the Nagambie Lakes Region of central Victoria, Tahbilk was established in 1860 and is one of Australia’s most beautiful historic wineries. Not only can you book in to try some of the wineries delicious food and experience the cellar door, you can also book in advance a range of other activities to really make your visit a memorable one. Try your hand at learning the art of wine making and learn the tricks of the trade or, unwind with a long lunch followed by a tour of the wetlands, there’s an activity for every type of couple so make sure you book ahead and make the most of your experience.

Images via Tahbilk Nagambie Lakes

And, of course, the tips you’ve been waiting for…

Select a wine that won’t date
Carefully consider the wine you want to mark this special day. You want something that in 10 years’ time you’d still enjoy drinking and not turn your nose up when you finally crack open the bottle. The 1927 Vines Marsanne from Tahbilk Nagambie Lakes is perfect in this instance and has been crafted to be enjoyed for over 30 years.

Image via Tahbilk Nagambie Lakes

Stick with the classics
A safe bet but one that will pay off. Sticking to the classics and most popular wines will mean less risk than with a newer variety you’d like to experiment aging. We’d recommend aging wines like the ever-popular, The Lake, The Ridge or Oakdale Chard from Audrey Wilkinson.

Image via Audrey Wilkinson

Screw cap lid
Look for a wine with a screw cap, they are said to age the best and you can store them both standing up or laying down.

Set a reminder
Don’t forget if you’re looking for a wine to commemorate your wedding day you might have to wait a few years before drinking it. Australian vintage wines need to age for at least five years (depending on the type of wine you purchase) before the flavour will be at its best.

Invest in a cellar
Your wine needs to be stored appropriately or you risk the flavour. Consider how you can store your wine in a cool, dark area and keep it at a consistent temperature. If you’re in this hobby for the long-haul it’s worth investing in a cellar.

Keep records
If you’re thinking you might one day make a dollar or two off your wine then ensure you keep every piece of documentation including the original purchase receipt, the business card of where you made the purchase and any details that make your bottle unique.

Ms Floral Says: What a wonderful way to spend your honeymoon… exploring brilliant wineries and purchasing bottles for a prized collection. The tips are also really handy for those wanting to start a sentimental collection or even wedding guests wanting to source a meaningful gift. Thanks Bec!

About Bec Lawrence: I’m an animal lover, sustainability advocate and natural landscape enthusiast. On a good weekend, you’ll find me hiking with my two adorable beagles and my equally adorable husband.