Real Weddings

Catharine & Mark

CATHARINE BAKER and MARK BOWSTEAD
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Mark and I met in Boulder, Colorado in 2015. I was a university student there, while Mark is a triathlete and had travelled to the US to train over summer. We matched on Tinder and texted for a few weeks before actually meeting up. I was nervous about the initial meeting and postponed two planned dates before finally committing to the third at the local Biergarten where we drank beer and shared a giant pretzel. It sounds so corny, but we really just clicked instantly.

Our second date was the very next day. Mark came over to my apartment to watch a movie, borrowing his roommate’s scooter to make it to me in torrential rain. When he showed up at my door soaking wet I realised he was an incredibly sweet and amazing guy – not every guy would do that.

We literally saw each other every day after that for the rest of the summer. Six months on, Mark had to return to New Zealand as the time on his visa for the States was running out. We never discussed if we were going to continue dating long distance – we just knew it was going to happen.

After living together in New Zealand for a while, we planned a date to get curry, before heading to a light show outside the Domain. After dinner we were told that the event was cancelled due to the heavy rain. Mark suggested we hike to the top of Mount Eden instead – I thought he was just trying to make me feel better as he knew I really wanted to see the light show. We made it to the top through the extreme wind and rain in the dark. When we got to the top I was so full and cold that I didn’t notice Mark was down on one knee. Of course, I said yes.

About a year and a half later we tied the knot at Bracu. We planned a long engagement to give my family and friends in the States time to save up to come over and chose to marry in February as it was the best, and most affordable, time for them. I had seen photos of a Bracu wedding and just fell in love. They offered amazing food and an all-in-one location – something we really wanted so that we could spend every moment with our guests. The olive trees were also incredibly beautiful, making a great backdrop.

The theme of our wedding was elegant, modern and floral. We used flowers in an array of shades: dusky lilacs, subtle blush pinks and white tones with pops of light sage and dark green foliage. Mostly open, luxe, modern blooms – roses, dahlias, tulips, orchids – styled in an unstructured yet purposeful way. The soft shades of the flowers perfectly complemented the olive tree surroundings.

When it came to my gown, I wanted a classic and elegant dress that I felt really comfortable and beautiful in. My dress from Vinka Design had a dramatic silk skirt with deep box pleats and, of course, pockets! The sheer bodice was made with handmade appliqued beaded lace and had capped sleeves with a high neck and low back.

I wanted something that fit my personality and the dress was unique – I felt like it was a match. My bridal party included my sister-in-law and three friends who all wore deep emerald green dresses from Evolution Bridesmaids in Auckland. The fabric was really light and breathable for a hot summer’s day, and the dresses were within everyone’s budget. The guys’ dark blue suits from Suits on Broadway fit in with our modern and elegant theme and were paired with personalised socks to fit their work or interests.

The modern classic food served for our sit-down meal at our reception was delicious with a choice of roast beef or rack of lamb for the main. For dessert we had citrus and vanilla cheesecake served alongside our wedding cake. The Bluebells Cakery creation was two tiers, with one layer of chocolate and raspberry and one of red velvet covered in cream cheese icing – appealing to both of our family’s tastes. After the wedding we received nonstop compliments from everyone about how amazing the food was – the entire menu was a hit with everyone.

Our first dance was really memorable – everyone was dancing with us and at one point we were all singing along together. It was one of the best parts of the day. We hope that our guests remember the fun atmosphere of the night – Mark and I wanted everyone to enjoy themselves and not have to worry about anything. Everything was great and we wouldn’t change a thing. It was the best night ever!


THE DETAILS

BRIDE’S GOWN Vinka Design. BRIDE’S SHOES Valentino. BRIDE’S ACCESSORIES Le Touquet. HAIR AND MAKEUP Belles & Brides. RINGS
Walker & Hall. BRIDESMAIDS’ DRESSES Evolution Bridesmaids. GROOM AND GROOMSMEN’S ATTIRE Suits on Broadway. VENUE AND CATERING Bracu, Auckland. CELEBRANT Brendan Lambert. FLOWERS Floral Stylist Co. CAKE Bluebells Cakery. MUSIC Mike Steffens. STATIONERY Papyrus. HIRE The Pretty Prop Shop. OTHER Boxsmith, Piyama.

 

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