Shaun and I met in 2010 in London; we were living a few streets over from each other and when my friend moved in to Shaun's house we started seeing more of each other. Then with some fairly obvious matchmaking from my flatmates we finally got together.
Shaun proposed on February 28 2016, on our first trip home to New Zealand together. On Petone Wharf at the last second of a spectacular sunset, Shaun suggested a walk. He'd planned to propose on the beach, but as it was his first time in Petone (my home suburb). I insisted on taking him on a tiki tour then we finally walked down the wharf – I’ve never seen him so stressed as he tried to rush me to the end of the wharf to catch the sunset.
We were married April 22 2017 at Tarureka Estate in Featherston surrounded by 63 friends and family.
I’m from Wellington and Shaun is from Palmerston North so we wanted somewhere that was a bit of a compromise – Wairarapa or Kapiti. We were looking for a barn venue from the start, we had a limited range of dates, and Tarureka was one of the very first we came across and we fell in love with it.
I really struggled with the dress shopping. I kept trying on these beautiful dresses that were slim and beaded and grown-up and I liked them and liked how I looked in them, but couldn’t seem to find anything right. Then I started looking on Pinterest at boho dresses and came across a dress online. I tracked down the only Elizabeth Dye suppliers in or near London which was The Wild Heart Bridal in Rochester, Kent. It has an embroidered silk bodice with a plunge neckline, spaghetti straps and a layered tulle skirt. The skirt has narrow strips of tulle on top of the main skirt which gives it a really floaty effect.
Shaun and his brother Ronald wore matching outfits – grey houndstooth trousers and brown leather brogues from Topman, suspenders from ASOS, and white oxford shirts from TM Lewin in London. Their Noose & Monkey bow ties, Kilt Society cufflinks and Fred Perry socks were black watch tartan because they were born in Scotland, though they grew up in New Zealand. All very laid back.
Em from Em’s Flowers in Wellington did our flowers. She used ferns, rosemary, gypsophilis, spray chrysanthemums and gum. I didn’t want anything formal, I had this idea that the table flowers would be like in our local pub where they just stick a random flower with a sprig of greenery in a milk bottle and it looks great.
She did the most incredible job. The moment I saw the flowers I realised how perfect our whole day was going to be. Em took vague and constantly changing ideas from me and made something quite magical. And all of this was organised via email from London! Along with the gorgeous bouquets and buttonholes she filled a whole bunch of jars for us to hang on the end of the aisles, and gave us lots more to fill up our own jars. We used the remaining flowers and greenery to decorate the arch – the flowers weren't just a finishing touch, they brought everything together.
Our favours were little envelopes of bee-friendly seeds – I did a beekeeping course last year and am pretty interested in the global bee crisis, so it was one of the first things we thought of, and we enjoyed designing the envelopes.
Our rings are handmade by a designer who only uses recycled materials, so the silver (and the white gold in my engagement ring) is from electronics, and the diamond is from heavy industry.
My best piece of advice would be to have a best friend on-hand for the morning who is just for you. She’s not a bridesmaid, she’s not involved and doesn’t have any responsibilities other than you. She will keep you in bubbles and she will keep you sane!
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