Real Weddings

Hannah & Phillip


Phillip and I met on an overseas school trip when I was 14 and he was 16. We had seen each other around school a few times, but when we were sat next to each other on a bus trip through France we instantly clicked, and the rest is history. About eight years into our relationship, at the end of November 2017, Phillip and I went on a trip out to Lake Waikaremoana. Phillip’s plan to propose to me at Lake Waikareiti was foiled as the weather was absolutely atrocious, bucketing with rain. I insisted that we still go for a walk as we had made the four-hour trip out there. As we approached a stunning waterfall, Phillip passed me a handwritten letter for me to read before asking me to marry him. We were sopping wet, and it was perfect.

We knew we wanted to get married in a winery – somewhere very romantic with lots of natural wood. When we walked into Te Awa Winery in Hawke’s Bay with its exposed wood and chandeliers, we both fell in love and knew straight away that it was the venue for us. We both LOVE wine, so a wine region always made sense for us. Phillip and I chose to have our wedding in November because we really wanted to have spring flowers in my bouquet, but we also wanted to ensure that we had beautiful sunny weather for an outdoor ceremony. The vines were in full bloom, which was a gorgeous backdrop.

I would call our theme French romantic. We went for very simple décor with lots of greenery and brass and went for rich colours like navy and deep red that remind me of France. The olive branches we gathered from a family friend’s farm were amazing on the inside tables for a Mediterranean feel. Our flowers were arranged by Lushka. We wanted our feature arrangements to have a wild hanging look, quite green and neutral with just a few pops of colour. For my bouquet, I went for a quite wild, rustic bunch of flowers with little jewels of red to coordinate with Phillip’s bowtie. 

It was really special having Phillip’s mother make my dress – she is the talented dressmaker behind Shona Rubery Designs. I wanted a really simple dress with a bit of lace and no back. I picked my own materials from a bridal shop in Melbourne, where we lived at the time, flying back to New Zealand for fittings. Shona used part of my mum’s wedding dress in the lining, which was a really beautiful touch. The dress had a backless lace bodice with long sheer sleeves and a full satin skirt. I wore a flower crown, so kept the rest of my accessories really simple, just wearing my grandma’s earrings. The little brass flower studs with blue sapphires have been worn by every woman in my family on their wedding day. 

The food at Te Awa was incredible. Everyone could not stop talking about the bao buns which were one of the canapes. We served a sit-down menu of shared plates with main dishes of chicken confit and slow-cooked lamb shoulder. It would not have been our wedding without cheese, so we had a ‘cake’ made from wheels of it. For dessert, we served a two-tiered cake made by my mum and decorated by our florist. The bottom layer was carrot cake, Phillip’s favourite, and the top flavour was lemon, which is mine. 

We made sure to incorporate plenty of details that were personal to us. Our wedding car was a kombi from Avantogo – we travelled in one when we lived in Melbourne. Some of our vows were said in French to remember how we came together. I made earrings for my bridesmaids as I have a small side business making jewellery – Hanmade Creations. It was nice to incorporate something that I crafted that they could keep to remember the day for the rest of their lives. Phillip’s family, the Rubery’s, have always made rhubarb and strawberry ‘rhuberry’ jam. We made some that we put into little jars which made for the perfect favour for our guests. I am glad we did not stress about anything on the day. When anything went wrong, we just kept on enjoying our wedding. No one noticed but us anyway! At the end of the day we were married, and that is all that we cared about. The most memorable moment of our day for us was, of course, the words, “I now pronounce you Mr and Mrs Rubery”. It was such a fantastic feeling after 10 years. We hope that our guests remember feeling how much love was in the room – we have been told it was palpable which makes us really happy. Our wedding was relaxed, beautiful and joyful. 

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