Ours is a classic 21st century love story, a tale of swiping right or left. Stu and I met in the digital world and the connection was instant. After a few days of chatting, we decided to meet up in the sweltering heat of summer for an ice cream in Mission Bay. Butterflies wreaked havoc on my stomach as I arrived, and I will always remember the bright smile that greeted me. Stu was genuinely excited about the ice cream – and meeting me! We gazed out at Rangitoto Island as we talked about the paths our lives had taken to bring us to that moment. I later gushed to my friends that he could be the one – he was different, and I had not felt so vulnerable in a long time. He texted that night to ask if I was keen to go on an adventure to all of his favourite spots.
Being together brings us so much joy and laughter that we knew we had a future from early on. I got along with the important cats in his life, as he did with my crazy family. After five years together, Stu had the ring in his pocket and was waiting for a natural yet memorable moment that would be special for both of us. The day before my birthday, on a romantic getaway to Snells Beach, we walked the Brick Bay Sculpture Trail. As we got to a clearing at the top of the trail two fantails danced around us and at that moment Stu got down on his knees and proposed.
The most challenging part of the wedding planning was selecting a venue. We wanted the location to reflect us and what we enjoy – Stu and I spend lots of time in nature strolling along beaches and tramping through bushes. We chanced on the elegant and intimate Flaxmere House while looking at a list of venues for hire on the Sharedspace website. It was close to the bush and beach and family friendly with a relaxed vibe.
We chose to have our wedding in November as we love native birds and thought that it would be so special to have them around in the fresh spring blossoms. We knew the weather would be unpredictable and were prepared with a wet weather plan. The venue had a few options and that put us at ease for if even the worst wedding was to happen on our wedding day.
We had a ‘timeless’ theme in mind when planning the wedding, inspired by Stu’s granny’s wedding photos and her uncompromising love for his late grandfather Rex. We wanted to start our lives together with a theme that stood the test of time – from the selection of our flowers, to my accessories, to the walk-in song; they were all classics.
I am lucky enough to have a super talented sister-in-law, Pamela, who helped me with the bouquets, boutonnieres, corsages and wedding arch. The main stars were red peonies, white foxgloves and white hyacinths which were in season while eucalyptus served as our green foliage due to its unique texture. A few other unexpected touches added extra colour and character, for instance, Pamela used some branches from her pohutukawa to dress the bouquet. I wanted the colours to stand out from the predominantly green and bushy backdrop.
Flaxmere House recommended us to a legend, David Gall of the Party DJ Company. He was our celebrant, DJ, MC and dance teacher. He has the jams and the whole setup to get the party going. He was even entertaining the children with balloon animals! Our first dance was to ‘(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life’ from Dirty Dancing, all choreographed by David. We included the ‘lift’ in our dance and spotted a few jaws dropping! It was completely unexpected for our guests and one of our highlights!
At our reception we served a buffet. Stu and I love our barbeques and spit roasts and we were lucky enough to have a venue that makes a mean one. The roast lamb and grilled salmon were also absolutely delicious. Dinner was followed by homemade fruit crumble, pavlova and sticky date pudding. I have to say I was too distracted by the sticky date pudding to pay attention to what the guests were raving about, but they enjoyed the entire food selection!
We decided to go with a cookie cake instead of the traditional wedding cake. As cookie lovers, nothing can beat a three-tier cookie cake!
There were so many special moments throughout the day. After the ceremony we snuck away into our room to have a few quiet minutes alone as a newlywed couple to process and enjoy the big thing that had just happened. Our wedding truly reflected us, and the day was just how we wanted it.
BRIDE’S GOWN Stella York from Stillwhite, Forever New. BRIDE’S ACCESSORIES Merchant 1948, Gl’amour Jewels. RINGS Blue Nile. HAIR AND MAKEUP Angela from Salon Mara. GROOM AND GROOMSMEN’S ATTIRE Crane Brothers, Frank Casey. BRIDESMAID’S DRESS Twosisters The Label. FLOWER GIRL’S DRESS Designer Kidz. VENUE & CATERING Flaxmere House, Auckland. WEDDING CCORDINATOR Vanessa Kerridge. CELEBRANT, MUSIC David Gall from the Party DJ Company. CAKE Moustache. FLOWERS Pamela Suen (Bride’s sister-in-law). VIDEOGRAPHY Jonathan Suen (Bride’s brother). STATIONERY, SIGNAGE Natalie Bondfield Design.