Celebrations: Waihi: Backyard bliss

On the sun-soaked lawns of a beloved family bach, Jacki Sims and Rogan Polkinghorne married on Saturday, April 13, 2013.

  • Story by Photos Coralee & Alex

On the sun-soaked lawns of a beloved family bach, Jacki Sims and Rogan Polkinghorne married on Saturday, April 13, 2013.


Will you marry me?
Rogan and I met while working together in 2007. Five years later, we travelled to the States, taking a trip to the Grand Canyon when we stopped in Nevada. A helicopter transported us into the canyon for lunch, and Rogan pulled me away from the group. I was taking a selfie of the two of us, then when I turned to look at him, he was down on one knee pulling out a ring. We celebrated over a bottle of Champagne shared with the rest of our tour group.

Location, location, location
My grandparents bought a Waihi bach in 1988, and we have created thousands of memories there – it was the ideal spot for our backyard party celebration. We said ‘I do’ on the front lawn and set up a marquee behind the house for the reception. My sister sewed a blue and white flag, emblazoned with our initials, which we flew at the front of the house. Strings of festoon lights and white bulbs made simple yet striking decorations, and bright-hued block numbers directed guests to their tables, cementing our vibrant colour theme.

Floral fantasia
Rosies Wildflower Company supplied all our flowers, arranging my bouquet, the boys’ buttonholes and my niece’s flowergirl crown, but supplying the rest of the blooms loose so we could arrange them ourselves. We simply requested bright-coloured varieties – sunflowers, chrysanthemums, carnations and berries were among the jovial displays that showed up. My sister-in-law arranged the bridesmaid bouquets, then displayed the leftover flowers as centrepieces on each reception table.

My dream dress
I teamed up with close friend Harriett to design my full-length, strapless gown. Made of chiffon, it featured a sweetheart neckline and a Grecian skirt – the minimalistic style was perfect for our fuss-free day. I wanted to include lace from my grandmother’s dress, so Harriett converted it into a bow that she attached to the bodice. I accessorised with pearl jewellery borrowed from my mum – a necklace she inherited from her aunt, and earrings gifted to her by my dad on their wedding day.

Family feast
Following the ceremony, our 90 guests helped themselves to picnic baskets full of chips, dips, cheese and crackers. For dinner, we indulged in a buffet-style barbecue that featured dishes such as slow-roasted pork, Pohutukawa-smoked sirloin steak and basil pesto penne salad. Lucy Sweet Cakes created a two-tier masterpiece comprised of mudcake and lemon layers, which made a sumptuous dessert.

For our guests
My stepfather owns Kaitaia Fire – the popular Kiwi hot sauce – so we offered bottles of this to guests as favours, replacing the label with our wedding date, location and a thumbprint-heart monogram Rogan and I had made.

Something special
Rogan’s cousin did a Maori welcome and blessing of our marriage – it gave the day an added touch of sentimentality and was a chance to honour Rogan’s Maori heritage.

My advice for brides to be
Even if you just escape to a hotel in your own city for a few nights, arranging a mini moon immediately after the wedding is a great way to cement special memories from the celebration in your mind while they're still fresh. 

The details
Bride’s gown Harriett Falvey (friend)
Hair and makeup Laurissa Hollis
Groom and groomsmen’s attire Working Style
Bridesmaid dresses Forever New
Bride and bridesmaid’s shoes Number One Shoes
Flowers Rosies Wildflower Company
Cake Lucy Sweet Cakes
Catering Big Smoke BBQ Company
Celebrant Allan Spence
Music Adam Sparks (friend)
Photography Coralee & Alex


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