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Shannon & Peter

Shannon and Peter’s entire wedding day was steeped in Jewish tradition, from the ceremony, to the structure of the day and the Jewish dancing – which saw everyone in their immediate families hoisted on chairs, spun around and thrown through the air. The couple say a sense of love and family and friends was so important to them, and the fun, party vibe was incredibly special. There to capture the atmosphere and all the beautiful moments was The White Tree and Movement Productions. Shannon and Peter’s day also featured lots of little details that were unique to them as a couple. Below, Shannon takes us through the significance of these details and how her and Peter’s dream day came to be. 

I met Peter in Year Three when I moved to Melbourne, Australia. He and I were eight and seven years old respectively. We were in the same class for six months before I moved to Sydney and, although neither of us remembers this, I still have a letter from him that says he will “miss me when [I] move to Sydney forever”. Peter and I met again eight years later at summer camp and remained friends for years across states, fortified by our shared love of football, before we finally realised we wanted to be together and started dating long distance.

The bridal party were given special gifts throughout the engagement and on the wedding day. The groomsmen received face socks bearing the groom’s face to wear!

The groom chose a classic black dinner suit with silk lapels, worn with cufflinks passed down from his late grandfather. This suited the aesthetic of the event and the bride in its dual elegance and simplicity.

At our engagement party, I said a speech about what football cards – of all things – meant to our relationship, and how they represented our shared love of football and Peter’s romantic side. Before we were even together, and then for the many years we were long distance, Peter would buy me football cards to leave around the house, in my bag and in various places for me to find when we were apart. My sister-in-law Sammi, who is a designer, had the idea to create our invitations from this concept, and we delivered playful packs of football cards as invites that gave the wedding details, our “couple stats” and insight into our relationship. We then converted these cards into a signing book on the day, and mailed personalised ‘bonus collector cards’ as thank you notes. It was a meaningful and unique facet of our wedding.

A vendor that stands out to is my makeup artist and cousin Ashleigh Gaitz. Ashleigh is extraordinarily talented and has been doing my makeup since we were both young. She knew exactly what I wanted and executed it to perfection, and it was amazing to share that special moment between us as well.

My bridesmaids were gifted custom robes, makeup bags and hand-written cards.

I went to several stores in Melbourne and Sydney looking for my perfect dress and had decided on Pronovias as my brand of choice for their luxury, beautiful designs. I had almost chosen another dress when I decided to try out one more store and tried on the brand’s Elenco dress. I loved it so much I bought it on the spot. It offered the simplicity, regal aesthetic and exquisite detail I had been looking for, with intricate lace, heavy fabric, a ball gown silhouette and a long train with buttons down the entire dress. I paired the dress with a three-metre veil with complementary lace.

A special moment was my dress reveal for my family and the intimate family moment just between the four of us we were able to share. I know Peter and his family had a similar moment between them before the ceremony and how much it meant to all of us.

The aesthetic of the wedding was created around themes of simplicity and elegance, with both classic features and original details that showcased our personality as a couple. With the lakeside venue, the colour palette of the wedding was built on these natural hues, from the anchoring navy blues in the groomsmen ties to the bridesmaid dresses, which were collectively worn in a gradient of colours from blue to forest green.

The wedding took place on December 8, 2019, at Carousel in Albert Park, against the setting of the park, lake and city skyline. We were very lucky with a day of perfect weather, and we were married lakeside under ideal blue skies.

Carousel was the ideal venue for both the ceremony and reception, allowing for beautiful photos to be captured with ease and against a range of backdrops, whether in front of the venue’s green canopies, by the lake or in the park.

Peter and the groomsmen walked down the aisle to another special song to us as played by the band – ‘Angels Brought Me Here’ by Guy Sebastian.

The song that I, the bridesmaids and the flower girls and pageboys walked down the aisle to was ‘Feels Like Home’ by Randy Newman, played live and acoustically with guitar, piano and vocals. This song has always embodied our relationship and the sense of ease, comfort, safety and home we have always found in each other.

The floral features, including bouquets, centrepieces, ceremony decorations and a roof installation over the dance floor, were built around white roses, light blue delphiniums and silver dusty miller, matching the venue surroundings in their use of blue, silver and green tones.

The flower girls were given specialised flower crowns to complement their white, princess dresses.

The ceremony was a traditional Jewish ceremony conducted by Rabbi Daniel Rabin. This began with Peter and I seeing each other for the first time after a week apart, situated under a canopy of leaves as welcomed by our 250 guests, and a moving ceremony under the ‘chuppah’ by the lake. The rabbi touchingly spoke about the power of the home, of family and of the wedding itself in bringing together those we love, and even those we’ve lost, to bear witness to the new family that forms on the wedding day.

We had a very large bridal party, with seven groomsmen, nine bridesmaids, two pageboys and two flower girls. The bridal party consisted of siblings and an array of dear, longstanding friends, while the flower girls and pageboys were beloved and adorable cousins. This legendary bridal party gave the event all their love and energy to set the incredible tone felt from all the guests throughout the day.

Matthew from The White Tree was our photographer. His sense of calm ensured not only productive photo sessions, but daytime and sunset sessions that were some of our favourite moments of the day.

The reception followed immediately after the ceremony at the same venue, with an entrée buffet for guests during couple, family and bridal party photos before a sit-down dinner and dancing.

The Baker Boys Band provided the music. They were talented, versatile and happy to accommodate any request for both the party vibe of the reception and the moving ceremony music.

The delicious catering by Food and Desire was lauded by our guests and the flowers by Balwyn Events were exactly as we wanted with total opulence and creativity at a great price point.

A wonderfully unique feature was our personalised cake topper. Made by That Little Nook, the cake topper was created exactly to our likeness, with our wedding outfits correct to every detail, worn with our dual football scarves to show more of our relationship personality.

Personal thought was given to every aspect of the event, from the important music choices and playlist, which I worked with the band to ensure included all our classic and modern favourites, to the menu, which offered absolute favourite foods of mine and Peter – including gnocchi, pavlova and chocolate mousse.

The theme and atmosphere of the wedding was one united by our love for each other and our love of family and friends, prevalent in every moment of the day. One hundred of our 250 guests had travelled from interstate or overseas, for which we were so grateful. From the traditional Jewish dances – known as ‘horas’ – and dancing on the deck under the stars, a loving, party atmosphere also pervaded the event.

Our first dance showcased unique aspects of our relationship. The mash up of songs was comprised of ‘As Long As You Love Me’ by The Backstreet Boys, which we had always loved since dancing to it in the car on one of many airport trips early on in our relationship and which we always wanted in our first dance. The second song was ‘Go, Go, Go Joseph’ from the musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, a song that we sing each other on hard or stressful days. Our choreographer and dance teacher Rebecca Abelman fused these fun and meaningful songs to us into a dance that personified our relationship and sparked an even greater party atmosphere at the wedding.

Looking back on the day, I thought I had planned and even over-planned for every eventuality, but some things will still go differently to how you expect, and it will still be the best day ever. Don’t be tied to the perfection you’ve planned in your mind because then you’ll lose sight of the fact that the day itself, even with a modicum of unpredictability, is perfect.

Wade Gardiner at Movement Productions was our cinematographer on the day. We had seen the skill and artistry Wade uses in his videos and knew we had to have him for the wedding, even though it meant him travelling from Adelaide for the occasion. His professionalism and talent made that decision easy and worthwhile.

Ms Floral Says: Congratulations Shannon and Peter! Your day looked absolutely joyous, and I adore all the personal and traditional touches you incorporated. Wishing you both all the very best on your journey as husband and wife.

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!

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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.

  • Beverages
  • Wedding Cake
Polka Dot Bride Shop

Bec & Sam

Bec and Sam, who tied the knot in Clare Valley, South Australia, made a big deal of highlighting everything local – from their gorgeous venues, to the amazing food, wine and even bonbonniere. The couple has ties to the area, making it all the more special. They held their ceremony at St Aloysius’ Church, which Sam visited many times as a kid, and their reception at SLATE at Pikes Wines, where Bec’s dad is the general manager. The couple loved the idea of sharing the area with their family and friends. There to capture all the magical moments was What Pete Shot Photography and Little Darling Films. Snapping all the incredible details of the reception venue was Pilot Studio Co. Below, Bec retells her and Sam’s love story, how the proposal went down and how their wedding day unfolded.

Sam and I met the traditional way… at a mutual friend’s 21st! I had snuck away from a conference dinner with a friend, and went to the circus-themed party. Sam remembers me in a black dress with my hair pinned to one side, and I remember Sam in red pants and a rainbow shirt a decent costume I thought until he continued to wear the red pants on numerous other occasions!

Sam was quick to request my friendship on Facebook, and the relationship took off from there. After nine years it’s hard to remember life without each other!

The proposal happened on my 28th birthday. Sam took me back to the hall the 21st was held in, where a surprise lunch and a proposal was waiting! In hindsight, there had been a few suspicious moments leading up to that day, including Sam being VERY insistent on knowing the whereabouts of my dad on a particular random weekday. But on the day itself, it was only when we pulled up at the Mitcham Hall that I cottoned onto what was about to happen!

The hall was set up with enough spots for our immediate families, and once I had said yes, they were given the all-clear to surface from the local coffee shop and share lunch with us.

We married on October 19, 2019. Our ceremony was at St Aloysius’ Church and our reception was at SLATE Restaurant, Pikes Wines. Both venues are located in Clare Valley, South Australia.

Our wedding stationery was simple, but it came to life through a gorgeous colour palette, textured embossing and a personalised wax seal. We had been the recipients of many invites from Magnolia Press, and so many friends had raved about Sharon’s work. Her attention to detail is incredible. If I haven’t sold her enough, her efficiency on emails truly made her a bride’s dream!

I’ll never forget opening the door to our beautiful bridal bouquets by Hygge Studio. I couldn’t believe such amazing bunches had been created just for us! It may have weighed the same amount as a small child, but I just wanted to carry it with me everywhere!

For my wedding dress, I used Helen Manuell, a bridal designer from Melbourne. I’d been stalking her for a few years on social media. I took Mum to Melbourne, ‘just to see what she was like’, and as soon as we met, it felt like we were old friends!

My experience with Helen was one of the best things about planning a wedding! Being a Haighs chocolate nut, I’d stash my shoebox with chocolates from Adelaide each visit. We still text regularly, about cooking, baking and life in general. She is a wonderful human being.

My dress was a fitted lace bodice with an invisible low-v neck and open back, with a full silk organza skirt. I picked the lace over text message, and I looked at it every day leading up to the wedding. I just loved it! The dress was so comfortable and suited me so well. We paired it with an off the rack Steven Khalil veil, one that was decorated with Swarovski peals and crystals.

I also had a reception dress, as I was a little indecisive and knew the volume of my skirt wouldn’t work on a dance floor! I was lucky enough to find the last in my size in the country of a Maticevski dress I’d had my eye on. It was comfortable, elegant and party-perfect!

My bridesmaids were my sister, a childhood friend and a close friend and wife of one of Sam’s groomsmen. Picking dresses for the girls was one of the easiest parts of planning, although it came with a degree of difficulty. One girl was due to give birth two months before the wedding, and another lived rurally, so the first time they tried them on together was the night before the wedding!

I’d had my eye on a gorgeous deep green Acler dress. Naturally, there was only three left in stock and could only be purchased online. I took the risk, and they fit the girls perfectly!

The boys wore black Gibson tuxedoes, white shirts and black bow ties. Sam also wore a black cummerbund, and all four boys wore suspenders. The groomsmen and both dads were gifted RM Williams boots to wear on the day, to finish off the look.

Three of the four boys (including Sam) had been groomsmen in a wedding earlier in the year, so we ended up using the same suits and shirts!

I walked down the aisle to ‘Canon’ by Pachbel. Classic, wedding-y, and we knew we wouldn’t change our minds and hate it later!

At the ceremony we had two oversized urns with mixed greenery, orchids, hydrangeas and the most incredible pop of red roses.

We felt that a church ceremony suited us, although it isn’t always the done thing anymore! We kept the prayers light and chose ones that centred around love and relationships, and also wrote some of our own shorter readings. Our priest was witty and had a fantastic (and wicked!) sense of humour. It kept us on our toes during the ceremony, but also helped us to feel relaxed and enjoy it!

Our photographer was Pete from What Pete Shot Photography. I have known Pete for about 15 years. He was a schoolteacher in his past life! When picking vendors, we figured it was much easier to go with what we knew, and not fall into the hole of scrolling endlessly through social media to find someone. Pete fit that brief. We spoke to him three days after we got engaged and he was in! Pete has an eye for incredible photo locations and was such great fun to have around. It’s amazing now to look back at the little moments he captured that otherwise would have been forgotten in the blur of the day.

We were very lucky to be the first couple to be married at Pikes Wines new restaurant, SLATE. Being new, the venue had an amazing feel and didn’t require a lot of styling.

Hygge Studio had a gorgeous oyster cart that was part of their hire collection. It was a point of difference and we knew it would be perfect for pre-dinner canapes. Whilst the bridal party were having photos, nibbles and a viewing of the reception space, the guests were out on the Pikes’ lawns having drinks, canapes and freshly-shucked oyster. According to everyone they were a hit! Because of the timing of everything, we never ventured out to the lawns or saw the oyster cart! But from the rave reviews we received from guests, we’ll take their word that it was one of the best parts of the wedding!

The aim was to have a relaxed country vibe, with some classic touches. The colour palette was simple – olive green, navy and grey, and was highlighted with the subtle colour palette and occasional pop of the florals. There are so many other options than the traditional white tablecloths and crockery, and we were lucky to have access to Pikes‘ gorgeous navy and cream crockery and Hygge’s hire linens.

We decided early on that we would utilise a planner, and had been loving the work of Hygge Studio. The decision paid off, as their work in the months leading up to and on the day was priceless. They took the decision fatigue out of things. We didn’t want to be deciding between seven chair quotes!

We liked the fact they were a one-stop shop, as along with their planning services, they offer in-house floristry, carpentry, a hire inventory and on the day coordination. The run sheet for the wedding day itself was military-precise and took every little logistical detail into consideration. It meant everyone that had some involvement in the day could just enjoy it!

In the end, we gave Hygge creative control of the flowers to run wild, and we’re so glad we did. What they came up with blew us away! The bridal table had a stunning feature backdrop of greenery, neutral-tone wildflowers, with roses and orchids scattered throughout. Our potted table settings were gifted to guests on their way out at the end of the night.

Our tables were shared, meaning our guests could interact and share a meal with both old friends and someone new. We chose to have a relatively small guest list of 130, which reflected the wonderful circle of friends we’d created over the course of our relationship. We also didn’t feel compelled to invite people for numbers or to please others. Everyone in the room was there because they meant something to us. The list also was manageable enough to spend time with each group for a meaningful conversation or a dance!

Looking back on our day, it couldn’t have run any smoother. It was perfect and very us!

We wanted to highlight all the things we love most about the Clare Valley – the food, wine and beautiful locations. We were so lucky to have an on-site restaurant and keen chef. We didn’t have a menu tasting beforehand, but trusted that he’d create an amazing menu, and he did! Our suggestion of a ‘few things for a dessert table’ turned into a full grazing buffet! Where possible, we tried to use local produce too- our bonbonniere were little take-home bottles of locally sourced oilve oil.

For our first dance, we danced to an acoustic cover of ‘(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher’. We spent ages stewing over ideas, as we didn’t have a special ‘couple song’. It took going back through our Spotify playlists to find this gem. Our band (The Uptown Seeds) learned the song, with a transition into the upbeat party version for us to involve our bridal party in.

My advice for soon to be newlyweds? Enjoy the planning! It’s not often you get to plan a party that is all about you, so choose things that celebrate the uniqueness in your relationship and personalities.

It’s also easy to keep scrolling through social media once you’ve made big decisions. Delete any profiles or hashtags that might feed any indecisiveness you might be feeling!
If time permits, have a sneak peek at the reception space before the guests arrive. It was a gesture so small by our planner, but it was amazing to see all the plans and dreams we’d had over 18 months come to life.

Most importantly, take time to relax and enjoy the company of your loved one. It’s so easy to divide and conquer the room, but you’ll be forgiven for taking the time to dance together or to just sit back and take it all in!

Little Darling Films were our videographers. We LOVED them. Little did we know it was Anthony’s first time as the lead videographer. He absolutely nailed it! They were professional, fun to be around and were so subtle in obtaining their footage. The video itself sums us as a couple and the day up perfectly. No matter how many times we watch it, we still get chills… or in my case, tears!

Ms Floral Says: What a beautiful day that really highlights the beauty of Clare Valley! Congratulations Bec and Sam on your marriage, and a wedding that guests will no doubt be raving about for years to come.

 

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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.

  • Favors
  • Locally sourced olive oil

Surprise! It’s a surprise wedding! When Andrew proposed to Tara, a Melbourne based textile and clothing designer, in the middle of 2019, she asked him if he wanted to have a wedding that was a little bit different. Andrew was open to ideas… and voila! The results speak for themselves as Tara details below. Capturing all the beauty, creativity and fun of this day? None other than Sayher Heffernan. You are in for such a treat!

Andrew and I first met at my stall at Melbourne Big Design Market, where another designer and long time friend of Andrew’s introduced us. Little did she know, we had matched on Tinder a couple of weeks before! She marvelled at how awkward we were being. She just thought Andrew thought I was cute. So we would have met anyway… but it could have been left at that!

We married on January 18, 2020. Our wedding was relaxed, fun, surprising and creative. At the after party we wanted people to be able to mingle and dance, so a surprise wedding/cocktail party with an amazing DJ surrounded by plants was perfect!

For my bouquet, I chose dried flowers from Gather Store in Queensland, as Andrew grew up in Brisbane and the Northern Rivers. They are also one of my stockists! The bouquet I chose had beautiful rust hues that tied in well to Andrew’s suit. I loved that they were already dried to last.

Just before the “party”, I had my best girlfriends meet me at Andrew’s house to help pick up supplies for the engagement. Each one arrived individually and was surprised one by one. You are a suprise-maid!

My suprise-maids were Steph, Carolyn and Kate. Andrew and I both had our brothers as best men. Lachlan and Alex. It was special to have our best friends for life as our people of honour.

The ceremony was help at Glasshaus Outside. After winning the Frankie Magazine 2019 Good Stuff Award for Fashion Design, I was delighted to have found this excellent dreamy wedding venue (where the awards dinner was held).

Guests believed they were attending an engagement. Keeping it a secret was a great challenge. Only parents and siblings knew! We thought rolling two events into one would create a relaxed and hilarious atmosphere on the day and we were right! The reactions were classic!

Andrew and I both had to hide out the back from guests, so my suprise-maids hid me under a pink blanket that I use for markets so Andrew wouldn’t see me yet.

There were a few really sweet moments on the day. One of them was Andrew’s reaction as I walked towards him.

Andrew loves supporting local made so had his linen suit custom made by Anna Cordell. It has a lovely vintage feel and we styled it with a black bolo I made.

After Dad walked me down the aisle, he had a surprise song (he loves to sing as Melbourne’s Happiest Tram Driver ) ‘Stand by Me’… and everyone had to sing along.

Our celebrant, PS Aaron Kelly, prepared a short encouraging sermon, which was lovely!

Sayher Heffernan was our wedding photographer and was one of the best choices we made! He was integral to the day, and was so aware of timing and kept the day on track. I don’t know how the day would have run without him, as you really do lose track of time laughing with everyone! We were above and beyond impressed! His photography is amazing and made it so easy. When we received the photos we were beyond impressed. He really captured the day in a warm and lovely way! Andrew really appreciates his artistry.

As an artist, I couldn’t resist painting a big pop up mural to use as a photo wall!

The reception was held down the road at Glasshaus Inside, where a few friends were still being surprised as they arrived late (we were very casual in our invitations). It was the best day ever! Glasshaus was really helpful, warm and organised. An absolute dream to work with! They took away the mystery of how to plan a wedding and had really helpful suggestions. They made the planning process really easy.

The cocktails were a lovely touch to the evening and it was lovely walking through to the after party and having a little cheers together.

I loved getting out the paint brushes and adding a personal touch to the space, with artwork dotted everywhere.

Creating the placement print was a challenge, with every section needing a different composition, but it was worth the work! I couldn’t help myself and painted a pop up mural, invitations, artworks and glassware to match. It has inspired me to offer a bespoke textile design service to create unique fabrics for brides and bridesmaids… and commissioned art pieces for photo walls and invitations.

I designed my dress by taking all of Andrew’s favourite elements from my collections and creating the ultimate dress! The print features my paintings of significant flowers from memories from our time dating, with an illustration of us at the front, and looking towards the future on the back. I wanted to have the flowers feel like they were being tossed like confetti: stawflowers and wildflowers falling from the sky around the portrait at the hem. It was joyous to dance in the swishy skirt and billowing sleeves!

I have created custom artwork and bespoke textile prints for some of Australia’s leading made to measure bridal designers since 2014, and I’m SO excited to launch my new services for clients planning their special day. I love creating hand painted textile prints which captures the unique story of the couple. All things are possible – as well as creating a custom dress, we can design prints for each bridesmaid and groomsman to capture their personalities. We can also create custom invites, that are so cherishable, custom photo walls and event decoration to live painting at the event. I love how artwork can completely transform a space and create the ultimate personal and memorable event.

My favourite part of the planning was learning a dance with HD Entertainment.  It was so fun, and so nice having something really special to learn together. I was looking forward to our first dance all day! HD Entertainment whipped up a delightful little dance for us. They mixed  ‘Girl Like You’ by Toro y Moi and ‘Mi Gente’ by J Balvin, Willy William ft. Beyonce to go with the amazing (but not too hard!) routine they created for us. It was fun to have a mix of two songs we love.

I think the closest thing to a tradition was to plan it ourselves just how we wanted it! The only advice my folks gave us was to create our own dream day, our way, as that was their favourite thing they did. So we just did everything ourselves, and made it exactly as we liked! But also really appreciated advice from vendors to help with the logistics! The Glasshaus team are logistics queens!

Ms Floral Says: Oh this day looks so much fun! Congratulations Tara and Andrew on successfully pulling off a surprise wedding and in such amazing style. Your artistic touches look incredible amongst the lushness of Glasshaus. Wishing you both all the very best!

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.

  • Cinematographer
  • Lachlan Whalley