James and I met on Friday the 30th December 2011. We were sitting next to each other on a flight from Christchurch to Melbourne. I was travelling over to visit my friends and James was travelling back to Melbourne after visiting family and friends in New Zealand for Christmas. He hired me an iPad on the plane to break the ice!
James surprised me with a weekend away to Hayman Island in the Whitsundays. He tried to organise dinner on the beach but the weather wasn’t great, so there was a last minute change of plan. We ended up going to the resort restaurant, for a beautiful valentine's meal. It was one of the most romantic restaurants I had ever been to with roses everywhere and beautiful live music. We then went back to the room which was covered in candles and rose petals. He led me in, played my favourite song and got down on one knee. I missed what he said because I was so excited, so he had to ask twice before I said yes! The manager of the resort then bought us champagne and a cocktail to congratulate us.
We were engaged for a year and a half before getting married in October 2016 at Mount Soho Estate and Winery, Queenstown surrounded by 95 friends and family. We chose Queenstown because we both love it there and holiday there often. Queenstown is one of our favourite places in New Zealand and James grew up down that way and spent many New Year’s there for the cricket. The backdrop of the mountains is breathtaking. Mount Soho is totally secluded in a valley of Central Otago. It has so much natural beauty, is sophisticated and elegant which was just what we wanted.
It took me forever to choose my gown as I liked so many different styles I tried! In the end I found one that incorporated most of what I was after – it was classy with a fitted bodice and A-line hem as well as romantic with a long train and gorgeous lace. The fabric is soft and fitted, it scooped to a deep V-neck at the front and had a low back. The dress had an ivory colour silk underneath with a white lace overlay and a long train. It also had a few small sparkles and pearls which made it shimmer!
James wore a navy blue suit with tan brown shoes and belt and an off-white tie.
The Flower Room in Queenstown organised our floral arrangements. We had wild native foliage garlands that ran down the entire length of the tables and said our ‘I do’s’ under a custom arch which was adorned with lush green foliage. The bridal bouquet had a beautiful white king protea in the middle which is one of my favourite flowers and the bridesmaids bouquets had burgundy protea with accent textural foliage. I would describe the style of the florals as organic, elegant and fresh.
For our wedding favours we wanted to create something special for our guests that reflects what love means to James and me as well as fitting with the theme of our day. In the end we decided on customised favour bags that had our initials and wedding date on the front and a poem attached that one of my best friends (and bridesmaid), Naomi wrote for us.
The poem was…
"If you let it you might find that
love can course through your veins
whisper to your soul
and tangle itself around your rib cage
growing like wild flowers in your heart."
Inside the favour bag we put different sorts of New Zealand wildflower seeds.
We had a few of our own personal touches. I wore my mum's veil for some of the photos. James’ friend flew him and the groomsmen in on a helicopter. We also had James’ dad officiate the ceremony. Our table names were The Koru Club and The Qantas Lounge, named after airport lounges of the main two airlines that fly between New Zealand and Australia. James’ groomsmen and friends did a haka for us which was special because we both have Maori heritage.
We flew a friend of ours over from Melbourne, who is a musician. We both love his music and style and the way he mixed it all, a little bit of old school with new stuff, reggae feel mixed with a touch of New Zealand classic and used only his guitar and a looper. It reminded us both of home and gave the whole day a relaxed feel having him play.
I had five bridesmaids, they all wore different styles of burgundy dresses, most of which I bought in Australia. I chose a colour that suited all of them and wanted them to wear styles that they suited. The groomsmen wore blue suits, white open shirts brown shoes and a brown belt.
Vivian Clarke from The Stash in Queenstown made our cake for us and was an absolute dream to work with. She created a two tiered cake with rose gold as the base layer and a white top layer, with a floral arrangement on top. The flavours were banana and chocolate and was delicious!!
Our beautiful and talented photographer, Hannah, pulled us aside part way through the reception at sunset and led us to the top of a rolling hill that overlooked the vineyard and mountains to get a few photos. The day had gone by fast and was only going by faster, so this was such a special moment for us to step away and take a breath before heading back down for speeches and the dance.
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