Real Wedding: Queenstown: Mountains of love

Sarah Manché and Ryan Coyle were married at Mt Soho Winery, Queenstown, on Friday, March 9, 2012.

    Sarah Manché and Ryan Coyle were married at Mt Soho Winery, Queenstown, on Friday, March 9, 2012.


    Our love story Ryan and I met at barefoot lawn bowls back in 2007 – it was a work function. We had been together for more than four years when he proposed. On the night of his birthday, we went for a romantic, post-dinner stroll on the shores of Lake Wakatipu. He pulled out a red stone ring he had bought on a recent trip to Morocco – we laughed, hugged and I immediately said yes.

    Location, location, location We live in Sydney but we chose to get married in Queenstown as we have many happy memories from visiting there. Mt Soho had a relaxed vibe and possessed such stunning natural beauty. We were blessed with a warm, sunny day meaning we could hold our outdoor ceremony against a backdrop of mountains, a sparkling pond and a cluster of lavender. Our reception was held in the venue’s light, airy dining hall before we moved into the adjoining Antler Room for more drinks and dancing.

    Au naturale The gorgeously green, hilly surroundings were the perfect setting for our nature-inspired wedding. We kept our decorations simple, using white tablecloths, sprigs of rosemary and hessian runners on the tables. Sarah from The Flower Room did a gorgeous job of arranging neutral-toned, unstructured blooms which were strung together with twine and arranged in bottles. We also piled together old, romantic books which added a vintage element to our centrepieces.

    A sumptuous feast Our three-course sit-down meal made use of local produce, including venison and slow-roasted lamb. Individual pavlovas topped with seasonal berries were a delicious dessert, and instead of a cake, we had three tiers of cupcakes in vanilla, red velvet and chocolate flavours, made by Cup and Cake.

    My bridal look I bought my dress from designer Akira Isogawa’s boutique in Sydney. It was flowy and natural to tie in with the organic feel of our day, using eight layers of tea-rose silk with ivory and gold magnolia embroidery. My ‘something borrowed’ was a long antique necklace my sister used for her wedding. We wound it through my messy bun and paired it with a matching bracelet. I wore a frilly pair of peep-toe shoes, and kept my makeup natural apart from bright red lips which finished my look beautifully.

    Sister act On the morning of the wedding, my sisters gifted me a leather purse that was filled with calming crystals and a Peruvian good-luck doll. It also included all my big-day essentials, such as lipstick, Band-Aids and mints.

    For our guests Instead of favours, we hosted a lunch at a friend’s place the day after the wedding. It was a beautiful, relaxed affair and gave us a chance to properly catch up with our guests over delicious food and some backyard cricket.

    My advice for brides to be If you have guests travelling to Otago from afar, I would recommend holding your wedding outside of winter months – not only is the weather more reliable, but flights and accommodation are a lot cheaper outside of ski season.


    Bride’s dress Akira, Sydney 
    Bride’s shoes David Jones
    Hair Crew Salon
    Makeup Renee Little
    Groom’s attire Ted Baker
    Groom’s shoes  Florsheim
    Bridesmaid attireFleur Wood
    Bridesmaid shoes Florsheim
    Rings Bride’s ring from Love & Hatred, Sydney.  Groom’s ring from Raphael Jewellers, Sydney. 
    FlowersThe Flower Room
    Place settingsThe Flower Room
    Catering  Occasionz
    Cars London Taxis
    CupcakesCup and Cake
    CelebrantJools MacKnight
    Photography  Larsson Photography


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