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Edwina & Lawrence

Edwina and Lawrence’s beautiful Melbourne wedding cleverly brought two cultures (and two big families!) together. Below, Edwina shares the couple’s love story, their wedding planning process and journey, as well as how their dream day unfolded at venues Burnley Gardens and Half Acre. Capturing the delightful details and all the special moments? Tony Evans Photography

Prelude

I first set eyes on Lawrence at office orientation day. As a young, fresh graduate eager to impress, I was too busy ‘networking’ with others to notice Lawrence – one of sixteen other graduates in the cohort. It wasn’t until we were assigned to work on the same project and started spending more time together in regional Victoria that I observed the self-deprecating humour and calm confidence beneath the placid demeanour. A year on we started dating, and have since spent endless weeks exploring various cafes, restaurants, hiking trails, campsites and countries together.

Fast forward seven years, one morning we drove out to the Dandenong Ranges for a morning walk. As we completed the descent, he suddenly got down on one knee, pulled out a ring box (that was upside down) and asked if I wanted to marry him. I was too shocked to remember saying yes, but apparently I did say “Oui”!

Planning

Being a meticulous planner and an avid Etsy buyer and seller, I rejoiced at the opportunity to plan my dream wedding down to every last detail. The planning process started with a Pinterest board… and before long I had various Excel spreadsheets supported by a Powerpoint presentation to portray mood boards and detailed run sheets to our suppliers.

We wanted our wedding to reflect our personalities and our cultures, which pretty much ruled out all ballroom style reception venues. Another key constraint was that, him being Jewish and me being Chinese, we had big families. We wanted the rustic style but we did not want our friends and families to worry about travelling too far to get there. After two months of intensive research, we decided to go with Burnley Gardens (Richmond) for the ceremony and Half Acre (South Melbourne) for the reception – decisions that did not disappoint.

Morning

The hunt for the perfect wedding gown was possibly the hardest part of it all. In the months leading up to the wedding I had visited every single wedding dress shop in Melbourne. Just when I was about to give up and considered eloping, I went back to the first shop I visited (Raffaele Ciuca, Armadale) and there it was, staring back at me, my A-lined dress with a long train, the right amount of ruffles, and a bodice sewn in beads.

Our day started at the crack of dawn. My makeup artist Jane and hairstylist Tammy were both incredibly talented, professional and so, so lovely! They made my bridesmaids and I feel completely at ease, and things simply could not have gone more smoothly in the morning!

Ceremony

Meanwhile, the boys were getting things ready at Burnley Gardens as our guests slowly filed in. When I was sourcing for a florist, I did not know how to choose. There are so many experienced florists around Melbourne, that it can become difficult finding “the one”. One day I stumbled upon some Instagram feeds that belonged to a Geelong based florist, Lustre Blooms. The girls tirelessly communicated with me and answered my 10,000 questions prior to the wedding, and despite the early commute and long day to Melbourne, the girls at Lustre Blooms were so, so amazing. The bridal bouquets were absolutely breathtaking, and somehow matched the design on my wedding invitations! They did a great job styling the tables at the reception, and delivered all the requirements to a tee. If I had to choose a favourite supplier for the day, that choice would have to go to Lustre Blooms!

Walking down the aisle to Elvis Presley’s ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love With You’, I was shaking with nerves but as soon as I saw Lawrence waiting under the beautifully decorated Chuppah, I knew that this was gonna be everything we’d been waiting for.

The ceremony that our celebrant Keren facilitated for us was wonderful. It was personalised, contemporary with a touch of humour, just the way we wanted! With the exchange of rings and breaking of glass, we were officially married. 

In my cultural background, tea ceremonies are a common ritual aimed at paying respect to elders. Adamant on doing things our way, we set up the tea ceremony outdoors, under a canopy of trees and next to it a grazing station that allowed hungry guests to take a bite and sip wine while waiting for their turn to drink tea. 

We chose Burnley Gardens because of the privacy it offers and the size of its beautifully manicured gardens. Apart from its awesome facilities (e.g. toilets and a spacious exam hall in case of a rainy day), Burnley Gardens also offer lots of gorgeous spots for post-wed photography with the bridal party.

Tony Evans, our wedding photographer was amazing at spotting all the sweet spots and just knew what to say to put us at ease in front of the camera. From Burnley Gardens we moved to Yarra Bend to take advantage of the rustic Australian landscape.

Reception

Whilst we had an incredible day, blessed with fantastic weather, the highlight of our day was definitely the reception at Half Acre.

After cocktails and canapés (which we joined in with our guests, there was no way we were gonna skip canapés!) we surprised many of our guests with a traditional Hora dance.

The Hora is an important part of Jewish weddings. People around the world may be familiar with the bride and groom being lifted up on a chair catching handkerchiefs but little do they know the level of chaos that goes on during Hora!

The absolutely mind-blowing Baker Boys Band pushed the atmosphere on the dance floor to a  crescendo after 30 minutes of non-stop dancing. The work out was more intense than Zumba and many of our guests had to change their shirts!

As for table setting, most of the items were designed and hand made by me. The candles and tea lights were sourced from a little boutique gift shop at The Glen. Place cards were a bulk buy of plastic toy animals from thrift shops, spray painted in gold and subsequently sawed by hand (this took months of hard work, mostly by dad!).

Table numbers were floating frames bought from Target, filled with patterns of compressed flowers and fallen leaves (sorry neighbours!). Finally our bonboniere was little jars of dukkah that we had cooked up following a recipe from our favourite middle eastern chef, Yottam Ottolenghi. Content and proud with the way the table were set, I know that months of Pinterest surfing had paid off…

Apart from designing and printing the welcome sign, and printing it onto a giant foam board from Vistaprint, I had also turned a little “green house” bought from Ikea into a wishing well using decals bought on Etsy. I had also made a guest book, which was effectively a scratch book filled with photos of our holidays together.

We did not want to put our friends through the stress of public speaking, but our parents speech more than made up for the lack of embarrassing stories retold by friends. My dad’s speech, whilst 12 minutes in length, captured the hearts and minds of our guests and had all 190 guests folded with laughter. Even the Half Acre security guards later congratulated him on his speech!

Coming back from a quick sunset photoshoot, it was time to have cake. Our wedding cake was hand made by my mum and took eight months to perfect. It was lemon poppy seeds on the inside, and delicious icing on the outside. Mum had hand peeled over 100 lemons (thanks to lemon season and friends who grew lemons) in the trial and error process, just to make sure that the final product would be perfect. Of course, Mum exceeded all expectations, and with help from Lawrence’s Aunt Barbara who is a professional cake maker to decorate our cake, the wedding cake was a much discussed feature of our day.

Years before Lawrence proposed, we went through a phase where we learnt to dance salsa. After months of practice at the Balwyn Rio Dance Studio, we danced to Billy Joel’s ‘Just the Way You Are’. As the music stopped, the tunes were replaced by ‘Time of My Life’ (Dirty Dancing theme song). It’s safe to say that we nailed that one, and will probably never dance in front of such a big audience ever again!

Even though half our guests rocked the dance floor, the other half preferred other activities, such as the photobooth. Our photobooth man Jimbo (of Jimbo’s Amazing Photobooth) had awesome quality props and photos that came out super high quality. After the wedding I had so many friends enquire about Jimbo!

They say time flies when you’re having fun. By the time 11pm crept up on us, many bottles of champagne and Coffee Patron have been had. Songs by Whitney Houston, Marvin Gaye, Pharrell Williams had filled the cathedral ceilings of Half Acre, and everybody had had a good feed. I do not recall exactly how we got home, but I remember thinking that we had the best day ever, and that if we could, we would do it all over again… but only if we get to do this again with each other.

Ms Floral Says: Absolutely gorgeous! Love how you did things your way, honoured your different cultures, and found two perfect venues to tie it all together. Congratulations and wishing you all the best for your married life together!

Polka Dot Dream Team...

The below wedding vendors made this magic happen and are an approved part of the Polka Dot Directory. Visit their portfolios to learn more and enquire about their services!

Credits

This post features the following wedding vendors. If you've been featured below, we'd love to get to know you. Click here to join Polka Dot Bride.

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Lea & Paul

Today’s newlyweds met on Tinder! Paul’s profile photo with his cute little puppy sealed the deal and Lea’s green eyes and warming smile convinced Paul to swipe right. Lea was also the first to contact him, which she says is all in style of German efficiency. Fast forward to their wedding day, and the couple opted for a cocktail party vibe with an outdoorsy feel. Glasshaus Inside was the perfect venue for their ceremony and reception. To sprinkle even more magic on the day, Lea’s parents, cousin, aunty and best friend flew in from Germany to take part in the celebrations. There to capture the wedding and all its beautiful moments was Pierre Curry Photography and Turbo 360. Below, Lea walks us through how their wedding came to life and shares special moments and wedding planning advice.

For our wedding, we wanted something uncomplicated, laid back, easy and just a big party for everyone involved. We love the outdoors but being quite unlucky with weather on several occasions we decided to have out wedding at Glasshaus Inside and bring the outdoors inside. We married on 22 February 2020 and were lucky enough to get married before COVID really hit.

As the colour theme of the wedding was green and white, Paul decided to wear a beautiful moss green two piece from ASOS.

I tried on a fair few dresses as I was unsure of what I was looking for. In the end, I decided to get my dress made. The idea was to combine the style of two different dresses I tried on and liked. Tania from Tania Stokes Design by d’Italia was a dream to work with. She understood what I was after and created my dream wedding dress.

We had a first look  with our families before the ceremony and it was a special moment.

Our favourite detail of the day was that our dog Laddie was part of our photos before the ceremony. He is a big part of our lives and in the end made me swipe right!

For our bridal party, I had a close friend and my sister-in-law as bridesmaids. Paul has his brother an best friend from school as groomsmen.

Glasshaus Inside was one of the two venues we visited, and we instantly fell in love with it. It was perfect for a cocktail wedding and we were able to bring in our own vendors including catering, drinks and hire furniture. On top of that, we really liked the industrial style combined with the green plants, which also meant that we wouldn’t have to spend money on flowers.

As Glasshaus is full of greenery, we decided to only have a few flower arrangements on the table scattered through out the room. The flowers were all white and green and I prepared the arrangements myself with flowers from Flawless Flowers at Prahran Market. The guys from Flawless Flowers also prepared the bouquets for the bridal party.

For our ceremony, we wanted to celebrate our love to each other but leave it short and simple to have a great party afterwards. Lara Williams was amazing in putting in all together and even learned some German to greet my family.

I walked down the aisle to ‘Lover’ by Taylor Swift. This was a surprise for the groom as he likes Taylor Swift and the story that Taylor tells through the song really resonated with us and what we’ve experienced.

The first photo of us walking down the aisle after getting married is our favourite. You can see how happy we are to be married.

We wanted to celebrate love with our family and friends and do so through a great party rather than a long formal ceremony and speeches. We definitely ensured to have great Mexican food and enough for everyone.

One vendor that stood out was Regnier Cakes – her little dessert bar looked amazing and tasted even better! One of the best salted caramel slices we have ever had!

Our photographer was Pierre from Pierre Curry Photography. Pierre was easy to deal with and even though we only met him on the day of our wedding he was great fit. He takes stunning photos of moments throughout the day rather than staged shots.

We were lucky enough to not have any hiccups and both enjoyed the whole day. We were both very relaxed and calm and didn’t let anything get to us.

Our first dance was to ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love’ by Haley Reinhart. As Paul isn’t really into dancing, we were looking for a song where we could just sway a little. We tried getting everyone else on the dance floor very quickly to take away from all the attention.

Lea and Paul’s wedding video by Turbo 360

My advice to future newlyweds? Enjoy the process – it may get overwhelming but it will be worth it. Don’t stress out if something goes wrong. Most of the time you will be the only one noticing it. And take it all in on the day. It will go by in a blur so ensure you have great photos to look back on.

Ms Floral Says: What a beautiful day and celebration of your love, Lea and Paul. And surrounded by lush greenery and good food, friends and family… What more could you ask for? Congratulations!

Polka Dot Dream Team...

The below wedding vendors made this magic happen and are an approved part of the Polka Dot Directory. Visit their portfolios to learn more and enquire about their services!

Credits

This post features the following wedding vendors. If you've been featured below, we'd love to get to know you. Click here to join Polka Dot Bride.

Amy & Brandon

Amy and Brandon are one of many, many couples whose wedding plans are up in the air due to COVID. To commemorate the rollercoaster of a year they’ve had as an engaged couple, they put together this DIY COVID themed shoot! We love the humour of it and hope it gives you a laugh as we usher out this super strange year. Below, Amy shares her and Brandon’s love story, then tells us how this quirky styled shoot came together and why.

Brandon and I met way back in high school in 2012. We went to different schools but ended up in the same Debutante Ball group as Brandon’s girlfriend at the time asked him to come and participate in our school’s ball as her partner. We actually ended up separated from our partners in the official Deb photograph and ended up right next to each other. We reconnected again in 2016 even though I was living an hour and a half away. After many weekends driving back and forward to each others towns, I eventually decided to move back to my hometown where Brandon lived and we moved in together after only three months of dating. I knew that moving in together so soon could make or break us, and luckily it was the smoothest transition ever.

I really feel like we have more differences than similarities, which works perfectly for us. I am a total introvert and Brandon is the complete opposite. He helps me come out of my shell while I help him stay grounded and focused. I always joke that we NEVER would have been friends in school given how different we both are, but as a couple it works so well for us.

When it came time to get engaged, I foiled my own proposal. Brandon had planned a weekend away and was being very secretive about it all. We had already discussed getting engaged and he clearly said this weekend was NOT IT. I had previously joked that he wasn’t really the planning type and this just seemed like his way of proving me wrong about that. We drove to Woodlands Rainforest Retreat in Narbethong, and for some reason, even as we walked into this stunning secluded cabin with rose petals everywhere, I still didn’t click onto what was about to happen. It had been a long drive and I had a lot of coffee, so right as Brandon was about to go down on one knee, I shrieked “I need to pee” and ran to the bathroom. Poor thing had to kneel down outside the bathroom door and wait for me to come out.

In November of 2019, I purchased a Mia Solano dress off the rack which I intended to wear for our wedding. A few months later I actually won a big wedding competition which included a brand new Madi Lane dress. I ordered the Madi Lane dress and so I had the original dress as a spare.

Since the competition win left me with two wedding dresses and our wedding plans are a little up in the air, my groom and I decided to have a fun COVID style shoot with my first dress to try to make light of the rollercoaster year we have had as an engaged couple! We decided to have a local photographer Alicia Flegeltaub do the honours. I knew she had a good sense of humor so when I hit her up with my idea she was so excited to shoot it for us.

We did the shoot in my grandmother’s backyard as she has such a lovely garden. We’re in the process of building our first home and our current house has absolutely no backyard.

I wanted to use the photos on a potential ‘change the date’ or virtual wedding invitation – and because I loved my original wedding dress so much that I wanted to get some photos in it, even if they are silly ones! We exaggerated all the elements of the year, such as the panic buying of toilet paper and wearing face masks. I really wanted the photos to look really ridiculous and over the top, for humour’s sake and also to ensure nobody who saw the photos thought they were real wedding photos! Although I did get a few very confused “congrats” texts when they went up on social media.

I have had many a nightmare that these photos are exactly what our real wedding will look like, so it seemed fitting. I love to document times in my life and wanted to have a record of how we felt during 2020 – even though we are insanely fortunate that COVID has not cancelled our wedding in January 2021.

Our photos have been published in our local newspaper and have really helped me deal with some of the stress that comes with waiting to see what is going to happen with our real wedding in January 2021!

 

Ms Floral: Good on you both for having such a fantastic sense of humour about this! We have all our fingers and toes crossed for you and your 2021 wedding!

Polka Dot Dream Team...

The below wedding vendors made this magic happen and are an approved part of the Polka Dot Directory. Visit their portfolios to learn more and enquire about their services!

Credits

This post features the following wedding vendors. If you've been featured below, we'd love to get to know you. Click here to join Polka Dot Bride.