Romantic Recollections: Trelise Cooper

Inspirational designer Trelise Cooper shares insights on her wedding and the power of love

    Inspirational designer Trelise Cooper shares insights on her wedding and the power of love.


    The best part of Jack and me is that we’re soul mates and absolute best friends. We met through fashion – our love and passion for all that it encompassed. When Jack proposed, he said ‘I can just see a curly, blonde haired child’ and wouldn’t you know – Jasper, our son who’s now 20, came through with blonde curls.
    Laughter has always accompanied us in our relationship, including on our February 16th wedding day, 23 years ago. I remember it as being one of the funniest days of my life, a day that I laughed and laughed. It started when I was leaving for the wedding. My pearl necklace broke and pearls scattered everywhere. The choker made the outfit – so I definitely didn’t want to continue without it. We needed to find some needle and thread, and put it back together. And then there were road works and it was raining. So what starting out as being a bit late, became an hour. I’ve always run a bit late in my life, and the wedding was no exception! Thankfully, Jack opened Moet for the 150 guests while they were waiting.

    We were married in Takapuna, near the beach. Although it hadn’t rained for ages, on that day it never stopped. I thought it would bother me, but it didn’t at all. Besides, during our ceremony a huge rainbow appeared. Our colours were white, cream and silver, so my two bridesmaids wore cream dresses and Jack wore a white linen suit, with a soft navy stripe, woven in the back. Patrick Steele made my ivory silk gown, as I wasn’t a fashion designer back then. It was the early 80s, and it (my gown style) was really the thing of the day. It had a ruched bodice that went below my hip and a big full ballerina length tulle skirt with embroidered spots. I didn’t go big with accessories. I later used the skirt to make my baby’s bassinette, decorating a vintage pram with it. Besides my diamond solitaire engagement ring, I only wore the really big pearl choker and a hair piece. Today, when I’m designing for a bride-to-be, I do classic with a twist because when you look back at those photos in 40 years you don’t want an ‘oh my God’ moment. Long veils are wonderful – they add to the glamour of the day and make a great photo. Those photos become your family’s heritage, your story.

    We introduced our theme with Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s ‘Power of Love’ lyrics on the invitations, ‘the power of love, a force from above, leading my soul.’ They were also part of our vows. I had wanted them to be meaningful and from our hearts. Music by Frankie Goes to Hollywood played while my dad walked me down the aisle and during our first dance as husband and wife. The day was emotionally charged, and one of the only times I’ve seen my dad and Jack cry. Choosing my wedding flowers was a really big deal because my dad has always grown flowers for me- and they are always fragrant. So we went all out – the décor very floral and fragrant.

    After the reception we had an amazing after-party at our house. We were actually the first to leave, to honeymoon in San Francisco and Hawaii. We waved goodbye, said ‘the last one out lock the door’. There were a few connections and our friends had organised something special – during each flight we were announced as newlyweds and presented with a cake and champagne.

    Jack is a huge romantic – on most days he picks fresh flowers for my bedside table. I’ve had my wedding band remodelled over the years and Jack’s added diamonds along the way. My dad said to me, ‘Never let the sun go down angry’ and Jack and I live by that. Being in fashion, our whole life has been spent travelling together and in the early days we would get snappy. We made a rule that we weren’t allowed to be grumpy with each other for more than five minutes. We learned to stop, sort it out, and move on.

    The most important thing to remember about your wedding is that the day is about the joining of two lives, for the rest of your life. It’s about what love means to you. And romance.


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