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Tania & Dean

Today’s couple had their first date in Williamstown, so it was only fitting that’s where they tied the knot! Their ceremony and reception all took place at the beautiful waterfront restaurant, Pier Farm, on March 21, 2020. Their criteria for the perfect wedding? A relaxed vibe with guests having lots of fun and laughs, water views, open space, fresh air, a nautical backdrop and great food and drinks. Tania and Dean achieved this, despite the stress of COVID-19 restrictions. There to capture their love was JDP Photography. Below, Tania runs us through how their dream day unfolded.

I wanted a beautiful dress that I could wear again. I initially chose a white wedding dress but soon realised that wasn’t for me. My dress sparkled and danced in the light.  Everyone kept talking about “that dress!” I felt like a princess. Thanks to Deborah Selleck Couture. For my flowers, I wanted simple, stylish and gorgeous.  My bouquet of roses was all of that.

Everything took place at Pier Farm, Williamstown. We were married on the deck, canapés on deck, photos on the pier and its surrounds, and had the most delicious sit down lunch in the restaurant. From the moment we stepped inside, we knew we had found the perfect venue. It was fitting that our first date was in Williamstown and we were married in Williamstown.

Dean wore a Gazman suit. Shoes from Florsheim. The blue linen jacket and blue and white floral shirt really made Dean’s eyes shine. Chinos were structured and relaxed at the same time. He felt comfortable and special, and the colour palette and fabrics suited the venue, atmosphere and surrounds perfectly.

I walked down the aisle to ‘Finally Found the One’ by Meaghan Smith.

Our gorgeous celebrant Janine Gallacher worked with us to ensure it was a relaxed, fun and loving ceremony. We laughed, we cried and our hearts burst with love. Janine is Dean’s aunty. Having family marry us and look after us on the day was amazing.

What made our wedding special was that there was so much love and support from everyone leading up to the day and on the day. Family and true friends are everything.

The photo of us on the pier, my head on Dean’s shoulder, boats in the background and the love in that moment, is my favourite and epitomises the day.

All our vendors were amazing and went above and beyond. They truly had our best interests at heart.

It was so hard to choose the perfect songs for the day. When you really listen to the words of songs you realise how sad most of them are. I wanted them to be true and full of love. When we saw the candid pictures of our first dance, the love in our eyes clearly showed we made the perfect choice. We danced to ‘I Get to Love You’ by Ruelle.

Our wedding was the last function that our guests have attended to date as the following day, Australia basically shut down due to COVID-19. The challenge of reducing numbers, restructuring most details and having to adhere to all COVID-19 protocol etc was extremely stressful. However, in saying that – WE MADE IT. It was going to happen no matter what and it was perfect. All guests were relaxed and truly enjoyed themselves. So many commented it was the best wedding they had ever attended.

My advice for future marrieds? Be as prepared as you can be but don’t sweat the small stuff. Go with the flow, try to take in the day and enjoy every minute.

Ms Floral Says: Congratulations Tania and Dean on your marriage and an incredible day surrounded by your loved ones. It definitely sounds like a day to remember, and Tania you absolutely shine in that beautiful sparkly dress!

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Nicole & Alex

Nicole and Alex surprised their family and friends by tying the knot at their son’s first birthday party! Their wedding was intimate (80 people crammed into their lounge room and decking!), brief, confetti-filled and super special. There to capture the happy occasion was photographer Dave Le Page. Below, Nicole and Alex share their love story, and how their wedding day unfolded.

We met on Instagram many years ago, we were just following each other with minimal interaction…

At one stage it was suggested that we do a Murakami book swap when I Alex saw Nicole was reading the latest volume but unfortunately nothing was actually exchanged. It wasn’t until two years later when me, a hungover Nicole was on my way to Subway for a diet coke breakfast that I recognized Alex as he rode by on his bike in VERY skinny jeans when I pointed at him and yelled out, “Hi”. He was even cuter in real life and I decided to message him to ask him out on a date.

We organically fell in love but didn’t realise just how serious it was until one time we had a dumb disagreement, and as I was laying in my bed looking up at the ceiling I received a message from Alex.

Alex: I had never expected to tell Nicole I loved her for the first time over a text…but I did.

Nicole: As I lay freezing in my bungalow, I knew then that I loved this guy too.

By the end of this year, we knew that we were in it forever. After an interesting trip to Vietnam where we didn’t eat a lot and spent most of the time being hangry and sad, we stopped off to NZ for a week. Things took an upward turn once we filled our bellies with some good vegan food, which made us happy once again.

Alex says: We had spent everyday together for a month and the thought of going back to living separately didn’t feel right so by the end of their time in NZ, I asked Nicole to move in with me. Having her around everyday made everything feel so much better and they both fell in love just a little more each day.

The wedding was planned as a surprise under the masquerade of our son’s first birthday party. Only two out of the 80 guests actually knew we were getting married, we didn’t even tell our parents!

The ceremony and party were at our house. We took photos later on at the Botanical Gardens in the CBD and a nice beach location on the Mornington Peninsula.

I don’t often dress up but wanted to go all out for my wedding. Because it was a party I wanted something with a nice party vibe and I LOVE gold and sequins. I found it online and couldn’t find anywhere to try my dress on because there are only a few places that were stocking Alex Perry at the time and none of the Melbourne locations had this particular dress so I just took a chance and purchased it online without trying it on first. I was pretty hesitant but so glad I did it because it really was my dream dress.

Alex wore a custom made suit from Oscar Hunt, a red velvet tuxedo jacket with black pants.

We didn’t want anything too formal, at the end of the day we were hijacking our son’s birthday so we wanted our ceremony to be quick and fun. We didn’t have any readings or anything like that. Our celebrant spoke about how we met and our story so far then we said our vows that we wrote ourselves, then our guests threw confetti all over us before eating pizza.

The flowers were chosen around the colour theme for the party (dark green, burnt orange, mustard and teal). Given the situation with the party, we opted for several small arrangements set throughout the house, matching to the bouquet and buttonholes. Orange and yellow flowers are the best flower colours so it was a no brainer really.

We have a turntable and a big vinyl collection. The vinyl we had on the turntable and on display was ‘Kind of Blue’ by Miles Davis, which was the album we had playing when Miles was born.

What made the day most special was everyone attending came to celebrate the milestone of our son turning one, with the added bonus of us getting married.

Our photographer Dave Le Page is an extremely talented wedding and portrait photographer. He is incredibly lovely, super easy to work with and above all, a genuine guy. He made us feel relaxed and we had a lot of fun taking our wedding photos after the ceremony. He was creative and we really enjoyed working together.

Our advice for soon to be newlyweds is to do what is going to make you happy, don’t feel the need to conform or follow the standard plan for what a wedding should look like.

Ms Floral Says: Congratulations Nicole and Alex on getting hitched YOUR way! I love that you picked such a joyous occasion (your son’s first birthday) to celebrate your love. We wish your family all the very best, and thank you for sharing your story with us.

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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.

Image: Elk & Fir via Relaxed Beach Engagement at Yeppoon

Weddings are steeped in tradition. Some of these traditions we just follow blindly without even realising how silly they might be (something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue… anyone?) and others, well, others we tend to err more on the side of the old adage: rules are meant to be broken.

This month, I’d like to talk about engagement rings, or more accurately, a lack thereof.

A planned proposal hinges very heavily on two things: 1. the ring and 2. the answer being in the affirmative. Tradition would dictate that the ring is purchased before the proposal and that it makes an appearance when the question is popped.

When it came to proposing to Mrs Houndstooth, I kept with tradition but it took me a couple of visits to the jeweller before I settled on the right ring.

The only reason I felt comfortable with choosing the ring was because I’d already established which one of my future Mrs Houndstooth’s rings fit on her ring finger so that I could borrow it at a later date to get the correct ring size.

a bride and groom hands on laps with rings

Image by Phoebe Powell via Jade & Dexter’s Utterly Romantic Churchill Wedding

I had also subtly been figuring out what style of rings she liked. This took some tact and to avoid giving the jig away, I settled on this much information: white gold and classic style.

Turns out that was enough though and when the day came the ring fit and it was the right style too!

But is there any reason to stick with tradition and buy the ring before the proposal?

And who says you need to buy a ring at all? Perhaps you want to wait until finances are a bit more forthcoming (something we can all relate to at the moment!).

I decided to go to someone in the know to find out more: Zoe Pook, owner at Zoe Pook Jewellery is a classically trained jeweller who works closely with clients to design and select the perfect ring.

Zoe has a unique insight into the decision-making process of newly and about-to-be engaged couples.

She says about 50% of her clients are going it alone in selecting the engagement ring and the other 50% decide to select the ring with their partner after they have proposed.

A Zoe Pook engagement ring

Image via Zoe Pook Jewellery

As for the benefits of the latter option, Zoe says there are many.

“Getting the size right is probably the most obvious one,” she says. “It’s nigh on impossible to guess the finger size when you are being secret squirrels about the whole thing.”

Getting the design right can also be quite nerve-wracking especially if you’re going it alone, something I experienced first-hand.

“We work closely to help develop ring design and often clients have a good idea of what their partner wants but ultimately, you are making a decision for someone else’s style which is always tricky,” Zoe says.

As it turns out, there is an unexpected benefit to picking out a ring together.

“It’s fun! The design process, the consultations, picking a gem, trying things on, it’s a fun thing to do,” Zoe says. “We offer a proposal package, where you can ‘propose’ with either a gem or a proposal ring and a certificate detailing that you and your partner are booked in for an engagement ring design consultation where they get to design their perfect ring.”

But, as Zoe said, there are 50% of you out there who still opt to go it alone. No judgement here, obviously. I did the same thing. If you’re about to embark on this more traditional proposal adventure, Zoe has one word for you: “research”.

Image: Angus McKern Photography via Sidney & Chris’ Sunset Engagement at Mount Canobolas

“Have a look at the jewellery they wear, talk to friends/family members for ideas, think about colours for possible gems, colour of gold, practicality for everyday wear and importantly have an idea of your budget, look around at how much rings cost and what you are comfortable paying.”

Sounds like a plan.

And if all of the above still doesn’t sound quite right to you, there’s always the option of going quirky. Remember back in 2019 when AFL footballer Adam Cooney proposed to his partner with a Burger Ring? And remember when Bill and Ted proposed to their partner’s with plastic novelty heart rings? A most excellent proposal.

Or perhaps, an engagement ring is one of those traditions some people might choose to do without? Everyone and every relationship is different. If you are not a traditionalist, or want to propose but don’t like the idea of a ring, or, perhaps you just can’t get all your shining ducks in a row – how about just asking the one you love to spend their life with you. No added sparkles, just real love.

Remember, the rules are: there are no rules.

Ms Floral Says: Do it your way, I say! Traditions are great if you dig them, but if they’re just not for you, feel free to make up your own rules. Plus, designing a ring together could be a lot of fun!

About Mr Houndstooth: I am a happily married man. I enjoy a fine whisky, a new suit and swashbuckling around town with my beautiful bride. Looking back on my wedding day always makes me smile, even though it began to rain just as I said ‘I do’.