Timeless, classic and elegant was the brief for Sara and Nik’s wedding, which was held at the picturesque Stones of the Yarra Valley The couple, who met through friends when they were 16 and 18, planned their day around this theme, but also wanted a wedding filled with love, laughter, memories and fun. They say having every single person in their lives all in the same room at the same time made it extra special. There to capture all the big moments and beautiful details was photographer Kas Richards and cinematographer Wed-deographer. Below, Sara shares her and Nik’s love story and how their dream wedding came together.
My (now) husband and I were together for more than seven years before he asked me to marry him. I was never a girl who dreamed of my wedding day. I never knew what kind of dress I wanted to wear, how I would have my hair or even what type of wedding I wanted to have. I basically started from scratch as soon as I got engaged. And after all of the magazine gazing, Instagram inspo and window shopping, it came to me. I wanted a wedding that was timeless, classic, yet elegant. A day everyone would remember. The weather was on our side. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky. I was hesitant about having a Sunday wedding. We wanted a Saturday night big party wedding. BUT the vibe was PERFECT! We got married at Stones of the Yarra Valley in Coldstream on November 24, 2019.
I wore a Sassi Holford gown. She’s based in London and works with Bluebell Bridal in Melbourne’s CBD. I secretly loved that her name was Sassi. The dress was different to anything I had tried on. It was satin, A-line, borderline princess. It really had the “less is more” type of vibe. Every other dress I tried on felt the same as the next until I tried this one on. I loved the silk line right across my chest. It felt so elegant!
It was a nervous wait, waiting for it to come in from London for about six months. I was so scared to go in and try my dress on for the first time but as soon as I put it on I remember why I chose it in the first place. My close friends and even my husband all said they knew I’d wear something plain yet fierce. Best compliment!
Nik and his groomsmen went for the classic fitted black suit with a white shirt. Nik wore a bow tie and his groomsmen wore ties. When Nik chose his suits I hinted the satin part of the jacket would tie in really well with the theme.
Our ceremony was in the gorgeous chapel at Stones of the Yarra Valley. The chapel is what made me fall in love with our venue. Our reception was in the “barn” next door.
I walked down the aisle to ‘Runaway’ by The Corrs.
Nik and I are both only children, so we had eight of our best friends up there with us. It was impossible for us to choose one best man and one maid of honour, so we had two each. One pair signed the papers. The other sat and stood beside us. They all had a speech!
The bridesmaid dresses were made by Ohlala Dresses but they came out a lilac rather than a grey! So I took a major risk and sent them to Sydney to get dyed and they came back the perfect shade of grey.
Nik and I wrote our own vows and people thought we wrote them together because of how much we rebutted each other. From talking about me being HANGRY, to talking about how I would never watch Star Wars with him (but I hope the “Force is with us” for the rest of our lives). There were a lot of laughs.
My grandma is Catholic so I really wanted her to do a Catholic reading but there wasn’t really anything that suited us. So, we went for the Corinthians. It did sound different with an Italian accent reading it though that’s for sure!
Our wedding photographer was Kas Richards and she is the ultimate photographer! She is calm, cool, and so down to earth! She calmed me down in a couple moments I was getting overwhelmed and managed to capture the day SO well.
Instead of traditional bonbonnieres we made a contribution to the Leukemia Foundation in honour of Nik’s dad who passed away aged 51 from the heartbreaking disease. At one point I looked around and nearly every person in the room was wearing the ribbon. It brought tears to my eyes.
On a less emotional level, we supplied thongs and a sign on the dance floor to make sure people kept partying! “These are your Sole Mates. When your feet get tired and sore, grab a pair and dance some more!”
Another part of a sign I loved read, “This has been 3095 days in the making. Let’s celebrate. Drinks are on them.”
We had a saxophonist follow us in to our reception entrance to ‘This Will Be – An Everlasting Love’.
My grandpa (accompanied by my grandma) sings at every big occasion and especially weddings. I was so scared he wasn’t going to be able to come because of health problems but he made it and absolutely rocked the microphone singing his classic Italian tunes! He was one week shy from his 87th birthday!
Our first dance was the highlight of my entire night. I truly felt in the moment. We had one lesson about a month before the wedding and practised nearly every night until the big day because we had NO idea what we were doing! We danced to Michael Buble ‘Close Your Eyes’. Nik says whenever he listens to it he thinks of me.
Our videographer was Wed-deographer. We swapped videographers a month before our wedding and it was the best decision we ever made. Wed-deographer was so well priced, accommodating, efficient, kind, and even brought an extra videographer on the day! Watching the day back I had NO idea they were even capturing those specific parts of the day. I didn’t notice them at all!
My advice for soon to be marrieds is to appreciate everything that goes to plan, and laugh at everything that doesn’t.
Ms Floral Says: Thank you Sara and Nik for sharing your beautiful day with us. You definitely nailed the timeless, classic and elegant brief, and in a gorgeous setting. Wishing you both all the very best!
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When warehouse meets the prettiest of lighting, an abundance of stunning florals, and loved ones enjoying good food and music, you know you’re onto a winner. Emma and Alex, who met at work, married at Gather and Tailor in October 2019 and the love they felt throughout the day was immense. Behind the camera was the talented Steph from Long Way Home, capturing sweet moments (like the couple’s sister and brother-in-law singing them down the aisle) and stunning details (wait until you see the signage and all those candles). Below, Emma retells their day and how everything came together to make it oh-so magical and special for her and Alex.
We wanted our wedding to be relaxed but chic. We loved the warehouse vibe at our wedding – it looked beautiful filled with florals and candles, and when it was all lit up at night. Delicious food, great booze and good music was an absolute must for us – we wanted our guests to have fun.
My dress was the Eden from Mariana Hardwick, and was custom made to me. Going through Mariana was an amazing experience, the girls were so lovely and took such care in crafting my dress. It fitted me beautifully and was exactly what I had envisioned!
I had three of my closest girlfriends in my bridal party – Jess (as my maid of honour), Lozz and Meg, who have all been huge parts of my life for a long time. Alex had his twin brother, Nicky, as his best man, and his close mates Al and Scotty as his groomsmen.
Alex wore a textured blazer, a bow tie, bone coloured chinos and dark brown leather accessories. I didn’t want to look too overly formal, just to have a nice kit that matched the vibe of the day.
We only visited two venues before we picked Gather and Tailor. We loved it straight away. We wanted a beautiful and unique space, and we’d both actually always pictured getting married in a warehouse venue. Another big part of it was our event and venue manager Ilse. She was all over it, no ask was too big or too small, and she showed us so much genuine care throughout the whole process. We knew that having her at the helm, everything was going to go off perfectly.
Gillian Pollard and her team did a phenomenal job in filling the warehouse with florals, from the sublime installation we got married under, to the arrangements dotted around, to the florals and greenery hanging from the beams. When I met Gill I knew that she just got my vision for the space, and the effort that her and her team put in to make the space feel magical (along with all the candles) was incredible.
Our sister and brother-in-law sung us down the aisle to ‘Latch’ by Sam Smith, the acoustic version. We both love the lyrics of the song. I had always known I wanted to walk down the aisle to that song. Then, when we entered the reception, we danced our way in to the Disclosure remixed version of the same song.
We absolutely loved our ceremony. It was our favourite part of the day. We wanted it to be heartfelt, yet funny, and to highlight our love for each other. Lara Williams, our celebrant, captured our story so beautifully, and it was so special to be able to relive our journey in front of everyone that we love the most.
The brief I gave to our florist Gillian was creams and dreamy tones with pops of dark pinks, otherwise, I was happy to just let her and her team run with it. I’m so glad I did as what she created was better than I could have described to her in the first place!
Steph from Long Way Home was amazing. Her work is so thoughtful and carefully crafted, plus it just felt like you were hanging out with a friend. She’s so down to earth and made us feel so comfortable. We were blown away when we received our photos back.
Taking some time out with our photographer, just the two of us, for golden hour photos and letting the day sink in, was so special.
Other than having a clear vision for what we wanted, there was no DIY. We felt it was easier to trust in the amazing vendors that we selected to be part of the day.
We decided to set up a polaroid station. We didn’t want a photobooth with props, rather just those really candid snaps of our loved ones that we could look back on. They actually came out better than we imagined. Everyone wrote cute messages, there were some really lovely ones, and some funny ones too (e.g. our friend Ryan running around the dancefloor shaking the box of polaroids ‘shake it like a polaroid pictureeeee’ to Outkast’s ‘Hey Ya’). We picked out a whole bunch of our favourites and got them framed.
For our first dance, we chose ‘I Wanna Be Yours’ by the Arctic Monkeys. They’re one of my favourite bands, and when the album AM came out it was in the early days of our relationship, and Alex used to sing the lyrics of the song to me a lot (it has some quite unique/odd lines that have a really nice sentiment like ‘I wanna be your vacuum cleaner’ and ‘I wanna be your Ford Cortiner’). They were also the first gig we went to, so the song has a lot of nice memories associated with it.
We wanted our dance floor to have a great vibe. One of our favourite things that we included was a dance floor session after our first dance and before everyone sat down for sharing style mains to get the party started early. One of my favourite memories is being in the middle of a packed dance floor with Pipes and everyone swinging into the middle to have a boogie with us.
We made sure to pay tribute to our loved ones who couldn’t be with us through our ceremony and speeches.
My advice to soon to be newlyweds is to prioritise what’s important to you both because it’s your day! And as much as you can, try not to sweat the small stuff. You’re marrying the love of your life and it’s going to be one of the best days of your life whatever happens.
Ms Floral Says: Thank you so much for sharing your day with us, Emma and Alex! What a beautiful space to celebrate with your loved ones. The candles, the flowers, the lighting… the styling was impeccable and no doubt helped to create an amazing vibe for yourselves and your guests.
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!
Lulu and Shaun wanted a wedding that paid respect to WA, with a focus on the region of Margaret River. They drank locally produced wine, including Howard Parks Flint Rock Shiraz and Marchand & Burch Villages Chardonnay, as well as beer and cider from Little Creatures Brewery, and used Jete Grand Vintage Sparkling in their champagne tower. They ate locally grown food, cooked by Supper Road in a satellite kitchen that popped up in the carport of their venue. All the flowers were native to the area too. There to capture the beauty of their day was Blake Heywood Photography. Below, Lulu shares stories from her extremely hot but gorgeous wedding day!
We were married on a private property called Incognito Escape in Gracetown, Margaret River, Western Australia in December 2019. We chose Margs for the location of our wedding as it exhibits the best of WA; beautiful coastlines on one side of Caves Road and rolling hills of wineries on the other. What more could you want?
The actual wedding day was full of little details, from personalised menus, to customised bridesmaids outfits, one to suit each girl’s personal style. It was not a religious ceremony but I carried a common prayer book from 1902 that was my great great grandmothers and my “something old”. One of my pairs of shoes was hand painted with blue Geraldton wax flowers by Elizabeth from ELK Prints.
Our invitations along with all the event decor was designed and hand painted by Elizabeth Kelly from ELK Prints, a local Sydney artist. She is extremely talented and creative, she even managed to include two little crayfish in our wedding monogram, another WA reference. Elizabeth hand painted my wedding shoes that were recycled from my 21st birthday many… many years before, making them my something blue! Working with Elizabeth was an honour, she went above and beyond to delivery a reasonably priced and quality products as well as personalise it beyond my own imagination.
My dress was designed and hand made by Aek from Edward and Simpson Bridal, in Queens Park, Sydney. I had tried on what felt like a hundred dresses in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney, but found it difficult being so petite to find something that did not require a large amount of alterations, normally resulting in losing the train (I love a good train).
In our first meeting I asked Aek how many fittings it would normally take to make a gown… He responded “as many as we need for a perfect fit”. From that moment I knew Aek was the guy for me! He totally understood my style and helped me to realise the importance of designing a wedding dress that “looked like me” instead of just following trends. His attention to detail and technical skills are exceptional, the gown was constructed with a full corset to ensure the neckline held its place, it was very comfortable, I did not want to take it off!
For my bridesmaids, I had Tessa (returning from London) and Rosie (who lived locally in Perth), my two best friends from high school, along with Zoe (visiting from Brisbane) my bestie from primary school. It had always been a simple choice for me, they were the three constants in my life. Living in Sydney, they were always just a phone call away, but it was extra special to have them all together for the four day weekend in Margs.
Shaun had Galps his best mate and best man, and his two brothers Michael and Ryan, all of who lived locally in Perth.
Shaun did a beautiful job designing my engagement ring, it was well researched, so I wanted to give him something special on the day in return. I had been hunting for months for a special watch, and eventually came across a vintage omega from the 1960s, it was in pretty perfect condition. I asked his best man to give it to him the morning of. He now wears it on every special occasion, from birthdays to anniversaries.
I had previously worked as the showroom manager for Oscar Hunt Tailors, a made-to-measure tailoring house in Sydney. They have a beautiful product and great service, so we decided to get all four suits and tuxedo shirts made by them. All of the groomsmen were quite tall, so a well-fitting suit makes a world of difference.
Shaun wanted to have a small point of difference in his suit, and decided on a grosgrain shawl lapel tuxedo with a textured bib shirt, which suited his shape and personality perfectly. He finished it off with a handmade ivory linen bow tie and pocket square that tied in nicely with my gown. The three groomsmen had grosgrain peak lapels and classic tuxedo shirts, with black bow-ties, a more simple and timeless look.
The location of the wedding was secret. Guests were collected from their chosen accommodation and arrived at the private property on the headland of Gracetown. We chose the location for the opportunity of catching a WA sunset over the water, something our guests from the eastern states don’t get to experience often.
We chose black tie as the dress code. We liked the comparison of blokes in tuxedos and girls in gowns, being bussed down a red dirt road to an unknown location. The ceremony and reception were held on the same property. The headland is surrounded by greenery and apart from the neighbouring property all you can see is the ocean and the low lying bush land, it’s pretty special.
Shaun and I had visited the property over 12 months prior on a “location scout” trip. It was the middle of winter and the wind was blowing about 40 km/hr. We were standing on the unprotected headland being smashed by the elements and trying to visualise a black-tie wedding on a warm summer’s day… While the spot was pretty spectacular, we were worried about the weather as Margs can be windy all year round.
Feeling confused about our options driving back down the red dirt road, we were discussing the venue versus other wineries when the song ‘Sweet Thing’ by Van Morrison came on the radio. It’s quite a strange reaction but Shaun broke out in intense goosebumps (something that only happens when he gets overwhelmed with emotion). The song and the moment brought both of us to tears, picturing getting married on that headland to that song, just seemed right.
We ended up Googling what the lyrics meant… Van spoke about his wife, the love of his life and the feeling of coming home to her after a long absence on the road, and looking forward to growing old with her. It was a no-brainer. Ironically all of Shaun’s siblings have walked down the aisle to a Van Morrison song… Ryan, his little brother has only a few left to pick from.
While the photos don’t show it, it was actually the hottest day in Margaret River in December… EVER…ON…RECORD… (of all time!). It was 38 degrees when I walked down the aisle. We were worried about the wind for 18 months and did not even think about the heat. Margs is not normally hot that time of year. So we were just focused on not cooking our guests. A few umbrellas and some cold water bottles kept them going… But the ceremony was short and sweet to get the guests out of the sun and onto a cold bevvie.
Shaun flew in our puppy Baker without me having a clue. I walked down the aisle and he was standing there with his bow tie waiting patiently for me. I could not believe it, I had no idea. I thought he was home in Sydney with our dog sitter. The whole ceremony all I could think about was that Baker was here!
Our celebrant Andrew Pickering was amazing! He was funny and polished, as well as thoughtful, personalising the whole ceremony to reflect us as a couple perfectly.
We also wanted to involve all the children who were invited in the ceremony. Making a rule early on that we would only invite children if we had a relationship with them personally, so there was only a small number.
My little cousins held my veil and train as I walked down the aisle (to avoid the red dirt). My other cousin researched the traditional owners of the land and delivered a beautifully written acknowledgement of the country.
Shaun’s nephews were the ring bearers and his nieces did a reading… a slightly customised version of ‘Oh the Places You Will Go’ by Dr Seuss. We love to travel so it was fitting and beautifully spoken.
In all, I would just say the ceremony was simple, with a touch of humour and a little bit of romance.
One of the funniest moments that was not in my run-sheet happened on our way back down the aisle. The original plan was to run through the confetti tunnel around the house and back out the other side to “sabrage” two bottles for the champagne tower and dig into the cheese table.
However, being budget conscious I purchased dried jasmine from an online store instead of going for the traditional rose petals or confetti. I thought it would be better for the environment as well as smell pretty. When smacked in the face with piles of the stuff (catching some in my mouth) the dried edges caught all through my hair as well as falling into my scooped neckline sticking to my sweaty body. So we raced into the bathroom, stripped my gown off and about 2kg of the stuff fell out onto the floor. It was all over me making me super itchy. I had to get completely nude as the girls washed me down with cold wet towels, and picked it out of my hair like a monkey collecting lice. By the time we got to the sabrage the champagne was warm, but I found the situation hilarious.
Blake from Blake Heywood Photography, a personal friend of ours, did our wedding photography flying all the way from Sydney. He has a beautiful style that manages to not only capture the moment but capture the feeling. From the morning swim at Gracetown Beach with the boys to the last song on the dance floor (‘You’re the Voice’ by John Farnham), Blake did not put down his camera. He went above and beyond, from fluffing my veil, to tying all the bowties! Blake has a calm and professional nature and it was an honour to have him as part of our wedding.
We think the photos encapsulate what a joyous day it was, being the end of the year, everyone was super excited to be there, all dressed up and in fine form to give it a good run! While this is just a short overview of our big day, we hope it gives an insight into what was the happiest day of our lives.
It was hard to physically DIY anything for the wedding as we were living in Sydney at the time and would have to transport it over to WA. However, I feel the whole wedding was a DIY wedding. It was a blank canvas, everything was shipped in from Perth or sourced locally in Margs. We looked into engaging a stylist to run the setup of the day, but being a creative myself I felt with a little bit of preparation (aka a shitload of planning) I could have everything mapped out to hand over to a few friends to sort on the day. My brother was the MC as well as the coordinator and I gave him a run-sheet of what needed to happen, and with a little help from our friends he got the job done.
One of the biggest highlights was the speeches. We set a five minute time cap on all of the speakers, and it is amazing how much they managed to cram in. They were sentimental and hilarious at the same time.
I had asked my great aunt to be our flower girl. I loved the idea of including her in the bridal party, walking down the aisle with us. I wanted her to represent the generation who could not be there. However she passed away a few weeks prior to the wedding which was very sad. I requested if I could
wear something of hers on the day, and her family shared a horseshoe from her wedding day that I wore while making a speech which included a toast to her and my grandparents who had also passed away.
For our first dance which involved a few lifts and dips, I changed into a silk slip and my mother’s wedding dress from 1980, which was a great surprise for her.
We both love a good dance, with our kitchen doubling as a dance floor one to two evenings a week. I have had some ballroom training in the past and was eager to do an over the top show piece with lots of lifts and dips. However, Shaun is more of a freestyler, and ballroom like with most men is a bit of a challenge.
Our teacher, Ian Hunter, made a good point that the dance was about sharing a special moment as our first dance together as “husband and wife” and not about putting on a performance. We both needed to be comfortable and recreating ‘Had the Time of My Life’ from Dirty Dancing probably would not sit within Shaun’s “comfort zone”.
Shaun picked ‘At Last’ by Etta James. Being eight years older than me, it was quite a sentimental song for him as he had been hoping to find “the one” for a while. We did a slow waltz that was quite romantic and did involve a lot of dips and lifts. We had practised heavily with our teacher Ian as well as in our cramped kitchen in Newtown, Sydney. On the night we did our best performance ever, we were both very relaxed and really enjoyed the moment.
My advice for soon to be newlyweds? Set some rules from the start and stick to them, for example, we had a huge guest list of 250 people to begin with, we asked ourselves the following questions to reduce it down to 100 which is what the venue capacity would allow:
1. Do we like them?
2. Would we go out to dinner with them one on one?
3. Do we want these people to be a part of our future together?
Also, personalise it! Weddings can be so generic these days, it should reflect you as a couple, you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do just because it is a tradition, get creative.
Ms Floral Says: What a beautiful honouring of one of Australia’s most spectacular regions! Congratulations Lulu and Shaun!
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!