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One of the fantastic things about this very unusual wedding season is seeing how different wedding vendors can work together to create new ventures. This week on Behind the Door, I’m thrilled to be discovering Laid Back Elopements, a new creation by wedding photographer Stina from Gold and Grit and Kim, a celebrant and florist from Dear Henri.

“Back when COVID settled in, we realised that the wedding world wouldn’t look the same for a while, big weddings were and still are off, but that doesn’t mean that love is!” says Stina. “Kim and I had a chat about what we could do for our couples, and created Laid Back Elopements – tiny weddings at amazing locations.”

Offering a curated selection of laidback love parties for couples wanting to keep things chill, Laid Back Elopements are designed for the couple plus up to 10 of their friends and family to enjoy. Each elopement package includes a breathtaking location in Victoria, celebrant services from Dear Henri and photography by Gold and Grit. The idea is that it’s low fuss but maximum impact, a perfect match with current wedding restrictions.

All the venues are in Victoria, mostly regional, which Stina says was a very deliberate choice. “Victoria has so much on offer, we’re in love with the nature, from the open fields to bushland and the gritty overgrown laneways of Melbourne, Victoria feels like such a soulful place.” Stina tells me they wanted a wide range of venue types so couples could find one that felt like them, whether it was on a windswept mountain or in a quirky inner city venue. All of the locations have a special feel and allow for some beautiful locations for portraits too.

“We have worked together many times before, and have a friendship outside of that, so we bring a great vibe to the couple’s day,” says Stina. “We can also recommend and work with other amazing vendors should you wish to add florals, a wedding cake or have your hair and makeup done”.

In addition to that the team are not just there for the ceremony itself. “We want to help our couples make their elopement an experience and we’ve created a list of favourite restaurants or gorgeous Airbnbs around the area that our couples can be inspired by or use on their day.”

I ask Stina what she loves about elopements and she says it’s all about the vibe on the day. “I love weddings big or small,” says Stina. “But elopements are a little bit special, there’s just something so gorgeous and intimate about a couple saying their vows in front of the tiniest of crowds. It’s a distilled version of a wedding, like a very reduced, delicious sauce, the pace is also slower, with less formalities, which allows couples to be more relaxed and enjoy the day.”

Ms Floral Says: Such a clever service! Congrats Stina and Kim on this awesome business venture. Eloping in regional Victoria sounds absolutely dreamy right now.

About Amelia Waddell of Moonstruck Bride: I’m a proud bridal store owner with a love of exploring creative spaces. Whether it’s an office, event space, workshop or retail store I love seeing how other wedding businesses create their own special magic. When I’m not fitting brides I love immersing myself in everything wedding, in the name of “research” of course.

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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.

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Whether it’s a wedding, an engagement party or a work event, the cocktail dress code is one of the most common (and confusing) invitation descriptors. Generally speaking, a cocktail code combines the formality of the event with a sense of fun and personality. This could be a classic wool suit or something with more texture or colour, but it avoids the strict formality of a black tie event and the laid back textures and details of a casual event, where denim and un-tucked shirts may reign. Here are three tips on getting it right.

1. Colour: don’t be afraid to have some fun with colour. Whether that’s some pops of vibrancy in your tie or pocket-square, a pastel or patterned shirt, or a suit fabric with a check or some detail, a cocktail event is supposed to be fun, so you shouldn’t be afraid to let your outfit reflect that. Many will see the cocktail dress code and reach for their ordinary work suit, in navy, grey or black – that’s totally fine, but bring it to life with some colour!

2. Accessorise: a cocktail dress code is a great opportunity to play with accessories you can’t get away with at work. Whether that’s a knitted tie, a silk pocket-chief, a lapel flower or even suspenders, don’t be afraid to have some tasteful fun. The key with accessorising well is, as always, not overdoing the look – let one key feature shine, and try to ensure the colours and patterns work together in cohesion, lest you look like a magic eye or a novelty act!

3. Mix & match: a little trick to adapting your work wardrobe to a cocktail event can be combining the trousers of one suit with the jacket of another. This ‘suiting separates’ look is a timeless European style that utilises existing garments in a fresh, interesting way from your Monday to Friday wear. Grey and navy work wonderfully together, and they are often the two suits men have in their closet. Be wary of matching two suits in the same colour code, as it can look accidental, or of mixing two bold patterns (like two conflicting checks), but rather pick two contrasting but conservative shades. 

Or, if you want to go the whole hog and get a cocktail suit of your own designed and fitted, chat to the expert crew at InStitchu!

Ms Floral Says: This definitely takes the confusion our of the cocktail dress code!

About InStitchu: We believe that every man should be able to afford high quality tailored suits and shirts. Our customers order by designing their own tailored suit or shirt from scratch or can use an existing design from our collections page. With a guaranteed fit policy, we have strict quality control procedures to ensure our tailored suits and shirts meet the highest quality standards expected by our customers.

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!

A global pandemic has created such a sense of uncertainty when it comes to planning your wedding, and nowhere more so than choosing your flowers!

Our last fresh flower wedding was back in July, and it was such a whirlwind of cancelled plans, moved venues and very late changes. We were thrilled to find a last minute venue for the couple to hold their micro wedding and they were able to go ahead, but I completely understand why planning a wedding during this time can feel stressful and uncertain. Fresh flowers being perishable cannot be cancelled should you need to change your plans at the last minute. Not to mention we are currently experiencing floral supply chain issues resulting in shortages and an increase in flower prices of some varieties of between 20 and 40%, with this looking to last as long as 12 months or more.

My advice to all 2020 couples for planning your micro wedding is “plan for the worst but hope for the best”, and it’s with this in mind that Floretta has currently shifted focus to using preserved and dried flowers instead. Dried flowers are fresh flowers that have had the moisture removed through a natural dehydration process, such as hanging them upside down. Preserved flowers have had the moisture in the flower and foliage replaced with glycerine which makes them look and feel more like the fresh variety.

Preserved and dried flowers come in a gorgeous range of colours, shapes and textures and the best bit is you can keep them after the event! It won’t matter if you postpone, change venues or even want to use your flowers again for a second, post pandemic celebration. There is no expiration date for flowers that have been preserved. While many claim they will last indefinitely, their appearance actually depends on environmental conditions. Preserved flowers have a general shelf life of 1-3 years although they may last much longer, especially if handling is minimised, and they are kept away from heaters, air conditioning and direct sun.

Dried flowers can create the most unique wedding bouquets, buttonholes and arrangements and I just love the idea of giving them to your special people as a keepsake from the wedding. The colours also lend themselves so well to weddings with creams, whites, nudes, blush pinks, coffee and even greys making an appearance! There are still lots of varieties to choose from with favourites like gypsophila, hydrangea, roses and Australian natives all being well suited to drying.

It’s special bouquets and arrangements minus the stress and uncertainty that has already messed more than enough with your wedding plans.

Ms Floral Says: Great thinking, and I also love that this is a beautiful sustainable option for eco-conscious couples.

About: Floretta: Floretta is a Melbourne based floral design studio, selling artisan dried and preserved botanical arrangements for the home or corporate environment. Visit our online store here to view. We also specialise in wedding flowers (both fresh and dried). Click here for fresh wedding flowers and here for dried wedding flowers.

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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.