Courtney and I met when were 13 and lived on the same street. All of the neighbourhood kids would ride our dirt bikes together, have pool parties and watch movies at each other’s houses. We started dating when we were 14 and 15 years old and have been together for 11 years now. Courtney and I became very close spending so much time together over the weekends and school holidays – we really did grow up together and went to each other’s birthday parties and school balls. I feel that being best friends first built a really strong foundation for the relationship we have today. We moved in together after high school while I was at university and Courtney was completing a trade, then went on our big OE trip to Europe and the US in 2016. It was a really lovely trip as I got to meet Courtney’s extended family in Switzerland, spending lots of time with them and experiencing the country like a local! In February 2018 Courtney proposed to me next to a beautiful statue in the snowy gardens of Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria. The time difference left us a few hours to relish the joy of our engagement without anyone knowing before we called our friends and family in New Zealand to tell them the news.
We wanted a destination wedding so that all of our guests had an excuse to get away and really relax. Courtney and I chose Queenstown – it is a place that will always be special to us as we took one of our first trips there when we were old enough! It is always a pleasure to visit and we have made so many happy memories there together. Millbrook Resort was recommended to me by a friend, so I added it to my list to look at when we visited Queenstown. As soon as we drove in we knew that it was our dream venue. It was so beautiful, reminding Courtney of Switzerland, and the entire experience – everything about it from the staff to the accommodation – was incredible. Once we had been there we knew that nowhere else would measure up, so we booked the next day!
I had always pictured a dress exactly like the one I ended up wearing. The tulle and lace Jessica Bridal Couture gown had an A-line silhouette with a V neckline and crystal beading. I knew when I tried it on that it was the one – the look on my sister’s face really sold it to me! Anthea from Zeebo Creations made a few alterations to the dress for me, including changing the detailing around the waist, hemming it and making it a tie-up. I accessorised with beautiful handmade earrings from Hera Couture, a veil borrowed from a friend and a fur coat – it was cold outside!
After our ceremony, while our guests were at our canape hour, we drove around in golf carts with our bridal party and photographer to some great locations Joel had scouted for our photoshoot. I loved that Millbrook packed us a picnic so that all of us could still pop some champagne and have some snacks! The green trees and cherry blossoms made for particularly beautiful photos. Joel took the best shots and made us feel so comfortable – it was so much fun, and I’ll never forget the whole experience!
At the reception, we had a sit-down dinner catered by Millbrook. The entrée options were seared scallops with cauliflower puree and crayfish vinaigrette or BBQ glazed pork belly with spiced pumpkin puree and ramen sauce. The mains followed with beef fillet with onion tartiflette and rosemary jus or roast chicken ballotine with leek and bacon pie and pickled cauliflower. We opted not to have a cake and instead served raspberry chocolate cheesecake and apple crumble. The beef fillet and cheesecake were delicious and the definite favourites of the night!
I think everyone had a pretty magical time at Millbrook. We were all staying there for multiple nights and got to hang out in each other’s rooms spending time together, so by the time we got to the wedding everyone was pretty well acquainted. It was so special seeing everyone that we love and care about there in Queenstown to celebrate with us. Everyone was so excited to be there! We are so grateful that we had such a magical and romantic day filled with love. It was a dream come true.
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