Nicky & Johan

Nicky Brown and Johan Smalberger were married at St Matthew-in-the-City, Auckland, on December 1, 2012, on a day filled with personal touches and family tradition.

  • Story by Photos Jo Wickham


Nicky Brown and Johan Smalberger were married at St Matthew-in-the-City, Auckland, on December 1, 2012, on a day filled with personal touches and family tradition.

Our love story
Johan and I met at his 70s-themed 20th birthday party. Despite him sporting a huge Afro wig, his smile won me over and I left with his number. Years later, on a winter’s weekend away, we spotted a break in the clouds and decided to head to our favourite beach, New Chums. With the place completely to ourselves, Johan all of a sudden asked, 'Will you marry me?'

Our quirky style
We tried to put as many personal touches into our largely traditional wedding as possible. Our ceremony featured a reading of a favourite poem of mine, The Lovely Love Story, based on dinosaurs, and a close friend sang a medley of our favourite love songs. We set up a photo booth in the reception using an old couch and a blackboard, and I made a bunch of funny moustaches and props for guests. We used a recurring sketch of a tandem bike, to represent our next adventure together, wherever it may be.

Family ties
I paid homage to my family by getting married at St Matthew-in-the-City, in front of the same archway where my grandparents had wed 63 years earlier, and our reception was at the Royal Auckland Golf Club where my parents exchanged vows 32 years ago. My something old was a beautiful cream clutch of my great grandmother’s – the best accessory to complete my look.

Setting the scene
Our reception venue matched our traditional theme perfectly, as it had a lot of dark wood panelling and very grand décor. We kept our decorations simple with white baroque-style candelabras and birdcages with ivy and cream roses wound around them. Large arrangements of cream peonies and deep greenery with fairy and tea lights enhanced the magical feeling that was present during the day.

My bridal look
I instantly fell in love with my Vinka Design gown with its beautiful beaded lace bodice. The sweetheart style was made with Italian lace that faded into a layered tulle skirt that floated like a cloud. It was finished with a thin belt at the waist, with simple white heels and earrings that were a 21st gift from my godfather.

A sumptuous feast
We had a formal sit-down dinner for our 120 guests that featured mouth-watering tuna, beef and chicken dishes. We are both massive chocolate fiends so we chose a three-tiered mud cake masterpiece with white icing, decorated with a cream ribbon and peonies on top, gifted to us by Johan’s mum. This was served with vanilla ice-cream and fresh berries.

My advice for brides to be
Delegate tasks to people you trust. It will take the stress out of organising everything yourself and people will enjoy feeling involved.

The details

Bride’s gown Vinka Design
Hair and makeup Rebecca Maree Boyce
Groom’s attire Frank Casey
Groomsmen’s attire Frank Casey
Bridesmaid dresses Karen Millen
Bride’s accessories Family heirlooms, Vinka Design
Bride’s shoes Pink by Paradox London
Bride and groom’s rings Walker & Hall
Flowers Enchanted Rose
Cake Chocolate Earth
Catering Royal Auckland Golf Club
Stationery Self-designed
Celebrant Dean Jo Kelly-Moore
Music Mix It DJ
Photography Jo Wickham


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